Novak Djokovic undecided over Australian Open participation due to Covid-19 vaccine requirement
Australia Open chief Craig Tiley said on Saturday "everyone on site" would require vaccinations to be allowed to participate in next year's tournament; Djokovic is the nine-time and reigning champion at Melbourne Park
By PA Media
Last Updated: 21/11/21 10:48am
Novak Djokovic refused to say whether he will compete at the Australian Open after it was confirmed players will have to be vaccinated to enter the tournament.
The world No 1, who has previously expressed scepticism about vaccination, replied to a question about the likelihood of his presence in Melbourne with a brief: "We'll see."
Pressed further on the subject, Djokovic said: "I haven't been talking to them. I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be. Now that I know, we'll just have to wait and see."
The 34-year-old spoke out again this week against vaccine mandates, saying: "The freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it's me or somebody else.
"Doesn't really matter whether it's vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body."
Djokovic was speaking after his ongoing quest for a record-equalling sixth ATP Finals title was ended by a semi-final loss to Alexander Zverev in Turin.
Zverev, a good friend of Djokovic, hopes the reigning champion will be able to play at Melbourne Park but respects the state of Victoria's right to set its own requirements.
- Djokovic told he has to be vaccinated to play at Aus Open
- Zverev denies Djokovic to set up ATP Finals showdown with Medvedev
He said: "This is a very tough one because it's very political. But we are visiting another country. This is not about tennis. This is about the virus that is going on.
"We need to follow the rules and follow the guidelines. I hope he's able to play. 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."
Djokovic, who has not won the ATP Finals since 2015, had breezed through to the last four without dropping a set.
But third seed Zverev, who ended the world No 1's hopes of a Golden Slam by beating him at the Olympics in Tokyo, played a superb match to win 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3.
On Sunday, the 2018 champion will take on last year's winner Daniil Medvedev, who had a straightforward 6-4 6-2 victory against Norwegian debutant Casper Ruud.