'Quite a bit to play out' for Novak Djokovic's Australian Open 2022 presence

It is still not clear if Novak Djokovic will be defending his Australian Open title in 2022, as his vaccination status is still causing hold ups.

Novak Djokovic could miss Australian Open 2022; Credit: Twitter/@DjokerNole

The Australian Open 2022 is looming large as the tennis season gets underway in the new year. But there is still doubt and uncertainty over the availability of defending champion Novak Djokovic.

The Serbian has declined to publicly reveal his vaccination status. That would not be an issue under normal circumstances; however, it is mandatory to be vaccinated in order to work in the Australian state of Victoria.

The tournament is set to get underway in 15 days time. Djokovic could still apply for a medical exemption to play in the Grand Slam; but time is running out for that too.

To make things even more unclear, Djokovic pulled out of the ATP Cup last week. And, as things stand, there is no clarity on his Australian Open participation.

According to the tournament organisers, however, there are things that will ‘play out’ with regards to the entire situation involving Djokovic.

“We’ve still got a few charter flights coming in until the end of this week and then all the players will be here,” Australian Open boss Craig Tiley told the Nine Network.

“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.”

What has Novak Djokovic said in the past?

Novak Djokovic has previously said he will skip the Australian Open if he felt inclined to do so. Yet, as things stand, he has not made his current stance clear.

He has also stated that he will not reveal his vaccination status. And this is nothing new for the Serbian; he’s previously courted controversy with supposedly anti-vax statements.

But even putting that aside, the tournament will miss his star power if he opts out. He is not only the defending champion, but also a recognised name in and outside the sport.

The organisers are already dealing with the absence of Roger Federer through injury. Being without Djokovic will seriously hamper the star-power of the Grand Slam.

That being said, the focus has been kept on keeping the players and fans safe from COVID-19. As things stand, it seems no exceptions will be made on that front.

How this story plays out still remains to be seen, especially since Djokovic himself has stayed mum over the entire situation.

Sportslumo Desk

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