Australian Open news: Nick Kyrgios urges Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal to participate in the first Slam

Rafael Nadal is in Spain recovering from COVID-19 while Novak Djokovic’s participation in the first slam is still uncertain since the Serbian hasn’t revealed his vaccination status so far.

Novak Djokovic (left) and Rafael Nadal (right); Credit: Twitter/@TrackerTennis

Two members of the big three, who have won a total of 60 Grand Slams between them, are currently in doubt for the Australian Open 2022. Roger Federer had pulled out of the competition earlier owing to an injury. Rafael Nadal is in Spain recovering from COVID-19 while Novak Djokovic’s participation in the first slam is still uncertain since the Serbian hasn’t revealed his vaccination status so far. Australian star Nick Kyrgios has raised his concerns over the non-participation of the big three.

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic are tied for men’s record 20 Grand Slam titles but there is a possibility that none of them will be in action at Melbourne Park when the tournament kicks off on January 17. Djokovic has arrived in Sydney and he is expected to take part in the ATP Cup, which is a preparation tournament for the Australian Open. 

However, the uncertainty regarding the 34-year-old defending champion’s participation in the next months competition deepens with organisers mandating all players and participants must be vaccinated or have a medical exemption granted by an independent panel of experts.

Meanwhile Serbian newspaper Blic was quoted saying that Tennis Australia is trying to negotiate a medical exemption in order for Djokovic to play but this hasn’t been officially confirmed. It is unknown as to what medical reason has been given to the health panel who will make a decision on the case.

Kyrgios the former world No. 13 says it would be a big blow if Nadal and Djokovic decide to not play.  “I honestly don’t know Novak’s current situation with anything Covid-related or what he needs to play,” he told The Age newspaper.

“I hope he’s had a good Christmas and I hope he’s able to play in the sport for as long as possible because I’ve voiced before I think Federer, Nadal and Djokovic need to be (playing).

“If all three aren’t there, it’s a disaster. It’s an absolute disaster for the fans and the people that enjoy tennis.

Good opportunity for some of the younger guys: Kyrgios

“Yes, it’s obviously a good opportunity for some of the younger guys to come through and make an impact, but as a whole, we do need them to be part of the sport.”

The Australian Open has been hit by a series of injury pullouts, with major winners Serena Williams, Bianca Andreescu, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka all missing out. Thiem was the last one to announce the pullout from the tournament owing to a wrist injury. 

Kyrgios, the local favourite hasn’t played since September due to a knee injury because of which he has slipped to 93rd in the rankings, which ruled him out of contention for the Australian Open for ATP Cup in Sydney. The 26-year-old has scored multiple wins over the two tennis titans during his career, beating Djokovic twice and Nadal three times.

My knee is something that has been hindering my career for a while now, it’s just something I had cleaned up last year and it feels good,” he said.

“I want to enjoy myself, I want to be happy, and that is it.” 

Kyrgios will start his 2022 season at an ATP 250 event in Melbourne next week on Wednesday.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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