Novak Djokovic likely to skip Australian Open, claims world number one's father

By Sports Desk November 29, 2021

Novak Djokovic is unlikely to play at the Australian Open in January unless COVID-19 vaccination rules are relaxed, according to the player's father.

Organisers recently confirmed that players must be vaccinated against coronavirus to compete in the tournament, which begins on January 17.

World number one Djokovic, who won a record ninth title in Melbourne last year, has not publicly stated whether he has had the jab.

Srdjan Djokovic told Serbia's TV Prva that being vaccinated is a personal choice, and that Tennis Australia's rules are essentially "blackmail".

"As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not," he was quoted as saying by news website B92.

"No one has the right to enter into our intimacy, it is guaranteed by the constitution. Everyone has the right to decide on their health.

"Whether [Novak] is vaccinated or not, that is his exclusive right. Will he publish it, I don't think so. I don't know that decision either, and if I did, I wouldn't share it with you. He has the right to decide as he wants."

When asked about Djokovic's decision to play in Australia, his father added: "Whether he will appear there depends on how [the organisers] position themselves. He would want it with all his heart because he's an athlete, and we would love that too.

"Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won't. I wouldn't do that. And he's my son, so you decide for yourself."

Djokovic, who is tied on 20 major singles titles with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, recently said he was unsure of his participation following his appearance at the ATP Finals in Turin.

"I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be and now that I know we'll just have to wait and see," he said.

Related items

  • Australian Open: Barty hails 'inspiration' Alcott Australian Open: Barty hails 'inspiration' Alcott

    Ash Barty paid tribute to Dylan Alcott after the wheelchair tennis player ended his glittering career with defeat in the Australian Open final.

    Alcott, who is the only man to complete a 'golden slam' in quad singles, and has won 23 major titles in total, is retiring at the age of 31.

    He lost 7-5 6-0 to Sam Schroder in the final match of his career, as his bid for an eighth straight Australian Open title fell just short.

    Alcott, who has been named Australian of the Year, won all four grand slams last year and also took gold in the Paralympic Games, defending his title from 2016.

    His run to yet another final in Melbourne has been a remarkable story, and Barty – the WTA world number one who reached the women's singles final by beating Madison Keys in straight sets on Thursday – hailed her inspirational compatriot.

    "Dylan for me is at the forefront of that, he has inspired a nation, inspired the whole globe," said Barty when asked about the success Australians are enjoying at the season's opening grand slam.

    "We were watching his match today. I was with my physio and when he was giving his acceptance speech, we were both crying.

    "I was like, I need to get out there and get ready, get my game on, but to watch Dylan and for him be able to share that moment with so many people here...

    "The way that he and the Australian Open have opened up the opportunities for more disabled people all around the world to play tennis and have a go is just exceptional, I couldn't be more proud of him."

    Barty and Alcott are just part of an impressive 2022 tournament for home favourites. Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis will face countrymen Matthew Ebden and Max Purcell in the men's doubles final, while Jason Kubler and Jaimee Fourlis are into the mixed doubles final.

    "Unreal, honestly it's just incredible," said Barty on becoming the first Australian to reach the women's singles final since 1980. "I love coming out here and playing in the Australian Open.

    "As an Aussie, we're exceptionally spoilt that we're a grand slam nation and get to play at home, in our back yard. I'm just happy that I get to play my best tennis here. I enjoy it, I've played well before and now I have the chance to play for a title. It's unreal."

  • Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne

    Ash Barty continued her fairy-tale run at the Australian Open, crushing Madison Keys to become the first local woman to reach the singles final in 42 years.

    The two-time grand slam champion continued her impressive form at Melbourne Park with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Keys on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

    Barty, the world number one, became the first Australian woman to reach the singles final at the tournament since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

    She can become the first to win the title since Chris O'Neil in 1978 when she faces either Danielle Collins or Iga Swiatek in Saturday's final, which she will undoubtedly start as favourite.

    Barty has dropped just 21 games on her way to the decider and the reigning Wimbledon champion was again ruthless against Keys, who lost her fourth grand slam semi-final in five such appearances.

    The 25-year-old Barty settled well and broke the Keys serve in the opening game.

    A powerful forehand created the opportunity before she delivered a cross-court winner off that wing to convert following a Keys drop shot.

    Barty only made two first serves in her opening two service games yet did not lose a point.

    Spurred on by a hopeful and enthusiastic home crowd, Barty's variety and depth – plus nine unforced errors in five games from Keys – helped her race into a 4-1 lead.

    Keys finally won a point against the Barty serve in the sixth game, the Australian forced to save a break point before sealing the opening set in 26 minutes courtesy of a forehand return winner down the line.

    The first real signs of nerves from Barty came in the fifth game of the second set, but she dug out a tough hold for 3-2.

    Keys had settled, but Barty grabbed the break she was after in the sixth game with back-to-back forehand winners.

    Barty looked calm throughout and that did not change as she served out the match in style, booking a spot in the final with a forehand winner.

    DATA SLAM: Brilliant Barty on verge of ending Aussie wait

    Barty has already ended one long wait – an Australian reaching the women's singles final at Melbourne Park.

    She is a win away from ending another by becoming the first Australian winner of the men's or women's singles title in 44 years.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Barty – 20/13
    Keys – 8/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Barty – 5/0
    Keys – 1/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Barty – 4/6
    Keys – 0/2

  • Australian Open: Kyrgios, Kokkinakis continue dream run to reach final Australian Open: Kyrgios, Kokkinakis continue dream run to reach final

    Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis' dream run in the Australian Open men's doubles continued, reaching the final on Thursday.

    Kyrgios and Kokkinakis stunned third seeds Horacio Zeballos and Marcel Granollers 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in their semi-final on Rod Laver Arena.

    The talented duo have beaten four seeded pairs on their way to the decider, where Australians Matt Ebden and Max Purcell await.

    For the first time since 1980, it will be an all-Australian final in the men's doubles at the year's opening grand slam.

    Dubbed the 'Special Ks', the pair took a tough first-set tie-break before being pulled back after leading the second set 4-1.

    But Kyrgios and Kokkinakis sealed their win when the latter delivered a wonderful lob, sparking their celebrations in front of a strong Rod Laver Arena crowd.

    Ebden and Purcell upset second seeds Joe Salisbury and Rajeev Ram 6-3 7-6 (11-9) in the other semi-final.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.