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Novak Djokovic targets year-end No 1 spot but remains coy over his Australian Open plans

Novak Djokovic will wait for Tennis Australia to confirm what the rules will be on quarantines and vaccinations before he makes his decision on whether to chase a record 21st Grand Slam title in Melbourne; Daniil Medvedev refuses to disclose his vaccine status

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during practice ahead of the Rolex Paris Masters at AccorHotels Arena on October 31, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Image: Novak Djokovic did not confirm whether he would play at the Australian Open next year

Novak Djokovic is out to clinch the year-end No 1 spot as he returns for the first time since losing the US Open final, while he did not confirm whether he would play at the Australian Open.

Djokovic has not played since coming up short in his bid for a calendar Grand Slam in September, losing in straight sets to Russian Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic and Medvedev are both in Paris for the Masters 1000 event before they head to Turin for the season-ending ATP Finals.

The year-end No 1 spot is based on results during the calendar season and Djokovic can seal it in Paris where he is the top seed and a five-time champion.

It was the first time the Serbian had faced the press since the US Open final, and he said: "The year-end number one is on the line between Medvedev and myself, and I'm in a pretty good position in terms of the ranking points and the race, so that's obviously the goal for the end of the season other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team.

"So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end number one."

During the press conference, Djokovic did not confirm whether he would play at the Australian Open.

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Tournament officials have said previously that unvaccinated players are unlikely to be allowed to enter the country for the event.

The state of Victoria, which is scheduled to host the first major of 2022 in January, has introduced a vaccination mandate for professional athletes as it battles a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.

Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said this week that no unvaccinated players would be permitted to play in the tournament despite Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier telling local media they could compete but only after undergoing a two-week quarantine.

"Well, I'm going to decide on whether I go to Australia or not after I see the official statement from Tennis Australia," Djokovic said when asked about the likelihood of him competing in the competition.

"Right now we don't have any official announcement or statement. So until that's out, I won't be talking about this anymore, because, you know, I don't want to be part of the stories about the assumptions and what-ifs.

"When official condition requirements to travel to Australia and play in Australia are out, then obviously I'll see what I personally do with that, and also the bigger group of the players, you know, because the situation is obviously different in Australia than most parts of the world."

US Open champion Medvedev refused to disclose his vaccine status and said he preferred to keep his medical records private, a stance similar to that of Djokovic.

"I always said it, that I really like Novak's answer about this. I want to keep my medical, no matter if it's about vaccine, leg injury, head injury. I want to keep my medical private for a reason," he said.

"I feel like tennis is such a brutal sport where you're always one on one against your opponent, and any information you give him can go against you.

"If you're playing Australia, it's obvious you're vaccinated. So that's why I said I'm willing to play Australia, but I won't say if you'll see me there, but we're going to see in January."

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