Alexander Zverev wants Novak Djokovic at Australian Open as German backs Covid exemption

Novak Djokovic celebrates Serbia's WC qualification

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Alexander Zverev has called for Novak Djokovic to receive a special exemption from Covid restrictions in order for the Serb to play at the Australian Open. On Saturday, organisers of the Australian Open officially confirmed that unvaccinated players will not be allowed to play at Melbourne Park in January.

The biggest name that could miss out is world number one Djokovic.

The 34-year-old has declared on a number of occasions that nobody should be forced to take the vaccine while refusing to reveal his vaccination status. 

Zverev, who defeated Djokovic in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals in Turin, believes the Serb should be given a special admission to enter Australia.

However, the German understands that the path to a maiden Grand Slam title would be significantly easier if Djokovic was out of the picture. 

“I hope he’s able to play,” the 24-year-old said.

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“At the end of the day, I’m number three in the world, so if he doesn’t play, it’s easier to win the tournament.

“This is obvious. Also he’s number one in the world so he should be there. 

“Hopefully the Australian government will make an exemption or whatever it is that they can do for him to be able to participate there.”

Zverev understands it is not that simple, as sportspeople – like everybody else – must respect the rules of the country they are in.

“We are visiting another country,” the world number three added. 

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“This is not about tennis. This is about the virus that is going on, right? 

“This is not about a tournament or tennis. We are visiting a different country.

“At the end of the day the country is allowing us to enter. We need to follow the rules and follow the guidelines.”

On Saturday, Zverev beat Djokovic 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 to reach the final at the ATP Finals, where he defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets.

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion and Zverev knows how difficult it is to play against the Serb.

“Every time we play it takes hours,” Zverev said in his on-court interview. 

“I have not spent more time on court with anybody other than him this year. 

“I am happy with the win and happy to be in the final here and to give myself the best chance for tomorrow”.

The Olympic champion defeated Medvedev – who won last year’s title – 6-4 6-4 to win the season-ending tournament.

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