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Novak Djokovic Could Be Banned From Defending Australian Open Title

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Novak Djokovic Could Be Banned From Defending Australian Open Title

Novak Djokovic's involvement in the 2022 Australian Open is in major doubt due to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate imposed in the state of Victoria.

The Grand Slam event kicks off the Tennis calendar in Melbourne on January 17 but the world number one may not be able to compete.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Professional athletes need to have been vaccinated in order to be granted a visa and even then there's still the need for 14 days of quarantine.

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Explaining the situation, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews said: "I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country and if they did get a visa they’d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks.

‘If I’m wrong I’m sure the federal government will let you know.

"(The virus) doesn’t care what your tennis ranking is, or how many Grand Slams you’ve won. It’s completely irrelevant. You need to be vaccinated to keep yourself safe and to keep others safe."

Australia are gradually reopening their international borders again and those who have been fully vaccinated will have less restrictions to contend with in the country.

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Serbian Djokovic has won the Australian Open on nine occasions and is the defending champion having won the tournament three years on the trot.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Tennis Australia have yet to give the full details on the requirements and although he wants to participate, Djokovic will not disclose whether he has had the vaccine.

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"I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not," Djokovic told Serbian outlet Blic, as per Metro.

"It is a private matter and according to our law, whoever asks you, you can in some way charge him for asking you. That is an immoderate question.

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"Too many people today allow themselves such freedom to ask things and condemn a person. Whatever you answer: 'Yes, I didn’t, maybe, I don’t know, I’m thinking!' they will abuse it.

"The media has become…I have no word how to describe it. It spreads fear and panic among people and I don’t want to participate in that rift. I feel that everyone is hostile. I don’t want to give them a reason to write some things about me.

"Now what I told you, one of your editors can take and make a scandal out of it. I don’t want to take part in any storm that is happening right now. I’m telling you, I don’t know if I’ll go [to Melbourne].

"Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful Grand Slam, I want to participate, I love this sport, I still have motivation."

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Three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray has been very vocal about the vaccine being mandatory and said he hoped "all the players would be willing to do that for the good of the sport".

Djokovic won three of the four majors in a triumphant 2021 and is chasing a record-setting 21st Grand Slam.

Image: PA
Image: PA

The 34-year-old contracted coronavirus during the Adria Tour he organised in June 2020 and received criticism for the staging of the tournament and parties without any social distancing.

Featured Image Credit: Image: PA

Topics: Novak Djokovic, Tennis, Australian Open

Josh Lawless
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