Novak Djokovic celebrates Serbia's WC qualification
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Novak Djokovic’s dominance at the Australian Open has marked him as the favourite to win the coveted title once again in Melbourne later this month – if he’s actually involved in the Grand Slam. With uncertainties over his vaccination status, tournament chief Craig Tiley has claimed it will become clearer whether or not the Serbian will play or not in the next few days.
Djokovic’s appearance at the Australian Open remains uncertain as regulations demand those in the Australian state of Victoria must be vaccinated to work.
Therefore players flying into the country must be vaccinated if they are to compete in Melbourne.
Djokovic’s vaccination status is something he has refused to talk about as of late. And this has fuelled rumours that his silence means he will not be playing Down Under later this month.
The Serb could apply for a medical exemption if he wishes to play.
But with just two weeks left to play, Tennis Australia CEO Tiley says it will be determined whether or not Djokovic will take part in the tournament, which is set to start on January 17, in the very near future.
“We’ve still got a few charter flights coming in until the end of this week and then all the players will be here,” Tiley said.
“As far as the status relates to Novak, I think we’ll have a much clearer picture in the coming days.
“Otherwise, it’s getting pretty late to show up and play the Australian Open.
“There’s quite a bit to play out and I think it will play out in the coming days.”
Tennis Australia laid out their vaccination protocols for the tournament in December.
They also detailed plans for those seeking medical exemption – which Djokovic will have to apply for if he is unvaccinated and wants to compete.
If his exemption is approved then he will be put on to the Australian Immunisation Register and be allowed to play.
Djokovic has won a record nine Australian Open titles, having won all but two of the men’s singles titles on offer since 2015.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Djokovic all sit neck-and-neck on 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, with Djokovic the favourite to become the most successful player of all time.
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