Novak Djokovic is unlikely to play at the Australian Open 2022 unless rules over Covid-19 vaccinations are relaxed, says his father Srdjan Djokovic. Organisers of the year’s first Grand Slam which starts on January 17, have said that unvaccinated players won’t be allowed to take part in the competition. World No.1 Djokovic has refrained from disclosing his vaccination status and his father has told Serbia’s TV Prva that the governing body Tennis Australia’s stance on mandatory vaccination for players is nothing but ‘blackmail’.
“As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not. No one has the right to enter into our intimacy,” news website B92 quoted Srdjan as saying.
“Under these blackmails and conditions, (Djokovic) probably won’t (play). I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself.”
Djokovic is the current defending champion at Melbourne Park and he has won the title nine times, most by any player in history. Meanwhile the 34-year-old sits on 20 men’s singles Grand Slam titles, level with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal for most in history.
Nadal has confirmed that he will play at the tournament but federer will miss the competition as he is recovering from another knee surgery.
Australian open tournament director Craig Tiley has said that 85% of professional players are vaccinated and he expects that figure to be “between 90-95%” by the time of the event at which fans and staff will also be banned if unvaccinated.
“As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not,” said Srdjan Djokovic in quotes reported by news website B92 from his interview with Serbia’s TV Prva.
“No-one has the right to enter into our intimacy.”