ATP

Australian Open: Victorian Premier casts fresh doubt over Djokovic's participation

By Sports Desk October 27, 2021

Novak Djokovic's participation at the Australian Open has been cast in doubt once again as Victorian premier Daniel Andrews indicated the state that hosts the event will not welcome those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Australian minister for immigration Alex Hawke revealed last week Djokovic, who has won a record nine titles at Melbourne Park, could only take part in January's tournament if he has received both jabs.

But the 20-time grand slam winner, who has declined to reveal his vaccination status, was given hope of competing after prime minister Scott Morrison said there would be exemptions should the state of Victoria – which includes Melbourne – agree.

However, responding to those comments on Wednesday, Andrews made clear his government would not apply for any sort of dispensation as it would not be fair on the other players and spectators who are fully vaccinated.

"The federal government manages the border and to the extent that anything the federal government says on this is clear, because their position has gone 180 from what the immigration minister said," Andrews said.

"What I'm making equally clear on behalf of every vaccinated Victorian who is doing the right thing... the only fair thing to do is to be very clear with every Victorian, my government will not be applying for an exemption for any unvaccinated player."

Recent reports suggested that over a third of professional players on the ATP Tour remain unvaccinated ahead of the 2022 Australian Open, which runs for two weeks from January 17.

Andrews added: "I'm not going to ask and actually require people sitting in the grandstand, people working at the event, to be vaccinated while players aren't.

"So we're not going to be applying for an exemption, so the issue is basically resolved."

Andrews also stated the same approach will be taken when Formula One returns to Melbourne in April next year.

Speaking last week, world number one Djokovic – who beat Daniil Medvedev earlier this year to win his latest Australian Open crown – told Serbian newspaper Blic: "Things being as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne.

"I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

"Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.

"I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open... I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes."

Related items

  • Andreescu to miss Australian Open as she focuses on mental health Andreescu to miss Australian Open as she focuses on mental health

    Bianca Andreescu will miss the 2022 Australian Open to focus on her mental health after suffering a "very challenging" couple of years.

    Andreescu has struggled with physical and mental concerns since winning the US Open two years ago.

    The 21-year-old has felt the strain even more this year, with her grandmother in intensive care after contracting COVID-19, Andreescu also testing positive and spending significant time in isolation.

    The former world number four has decided to skip the first grand slam next year as she takes extra time out to "reset, recover and grow", but vowed to return "stronger than ever."

    The Canadian tweeted: "As you all know, the past two years have been very challenging for me for a variety of reasons.

    "Especially this year in particular, I spent multiple weeks in isolation quarantining which affected me greatly – both mentally and physically. In addition, my grandmother spent several weeks in the ICU due to a covid infection, something that really hit me hard.

    "A lot of days, I did not feel like myself, especially while I was training and/or playing matches. I felt like I was carrying the world on my shoulders.

    "I could not detach myself from everything that was going on off the court; was feeling the collective sadness and turmoil around it and it took its toll on me.

    "I want to give myself extra time to reset, recover and grow from this (as cliche [sic] as that sounds) and continue to inspire by doing charity work, giving back and working on myself because I know by doing this, I will come back stronger than ever.

    "I will therefore not start my season in Australia this year, but will take some additional time to reflect, train and be ready for the upcoming 2022 season."

     

  • Olympic champion Thompson-Herah among nominees for BBC SPOTY World Sports Star award Olympic champion Thompson-Herah among nominees for BBC SPOTY World Sports Star award

    Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah has been named among the nominees for BBC Sports Personality of the Year’s World Sports Star award.

    This follows her being named Female Athlete of the Year by World Athletics at their virtual award show held on December 1st.

    The triple gold medallist from the Tokyo Olympics this year has been nominated alongside Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, Rachael Blackmore, Tom Brady, Novak Djokovic and Max Verstappen.

    Thompson-Herah will face stiff competition from her fellow nominees as Alvarez became the first undisputed super-middleweight champion in boxing history with an 11th round finish against Caleb Plant last month.

    Rachael Blackmore became the first female jockey to win the Grand National back in April.

    Tom Brady led the Buccaneers to their first Superbowl in franchise history and his seventh overall, having won six previously as a member of the New England Patriots.

    Novak Djokovic won three Grand Slam titles this year at the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon to take his overall tally to 20, joining rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at the top of the all-time leader board.

    Verstappen is in a fight for his first F1 title and has won nine races so far this season.

    Voting is now open for the award on the BBC’s website and closes on December 14th with the winner being unveiled at the BBC Sports Personality of The Year Ceremony on December 19th.

  • Ashes Test in Perth to be relocated due to Western Australia's COVID restrictions Ashes Test in Perth to be relocated due to Western Australia's COVID restrictions

    Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed the fifth and final Ashes Test scheduled to be played in Perth has been relocated due to Western Australia's border strictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Ashes showdown between Australia and tourists England was set to be staged at Perth's Optus Stadium from January 14-18, however, the state's strict travel strictions has forced the series finale to be moved.

    While CA announced the relocation of the Perth Test on Monday, no new host has been confirmed, with Hobart among the possible locations.

    Melbourne – the scene for the Boxing Day Test – and Sydney, which will host the fourth Test, have been floated as possible new host venues for the Test match.

    Under Western Australia's current border rules, visitors from New South Wales – where the fourth Test is due to take place from January 5-9 – must complete 14 days quarantine upon arrival.

    Talks between CA and the WA state government had seemed to be heading in a positive direction last month, with a potentially shorter and more relaxed quarantine period for players, their families and match and broadcast staff, but the emergence of the Omicron variant has reaffirmed the state's hardline stance on borders.

    "While absolutely every effort was made to ensure the final Test match of the series could be staged in Perth, border controls, quarantine requirements and the complexities of staging a five-Test series in a tight schedule have meant it is unfortunately not possible to align the respective priorities of the WA Government, CA and WA Cricket," CA said in a statement.

    WA Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti had publicly spoken about a proposal to shift the order of the Tests, with Perth replacing the second Test in Adelaide starting December 16 – given borders remain open between WA and Queensland where the first Test will be held – but CA closed the door on that idea.

    "These complexities also mean that any suggestion of changing the order of the venues would not be feasible," the statement said. "Discussions about a replacement venue for the fifth Test match are underway."

    The decision is a major blow for WA Cricket and Perth, which missed out on a Test match during the last Australian summer following the postponement of a one-off game against Afghanistan.

    WA Cricket CEO Christina Matthews said: "We are extremely disappointed for our Members, fans, Commercial Partners and the wider WA cricket community as well as all our staff and players who have been looking forward to and planning for the first ever Ashes to be played at Perth Stadium.

    "We've been working closely and constructively with the WA Government and Cricket Australia for many months to bring this fixture to Perth amid the pandemic-related challenges we've faced.

    "While this decision is very difficult to accept, the complexity of staging the Test in the face of strict border controls and quarantine requirements has resulted in it not being possible to align the respective priorities of the WA Government, Cricket Australia, and WA Cricket."

    The first Ashes Test begins in Brisbane on Wednesday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.