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Djokovic says “we’ll see” to Australian Open participation after confirmation all players must be vaccinated

The world No 1 has not revealed whether he has been vaccinated or will get vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to defend his title in Melbourne

Novak Djokovic AO media 2020 Zuma / Panoramic

World No 1 Novak Djokovic‘s defence of his Australian Open title is still up in the air after he would not confirm on Saturday whether he will play in Melbourne in January in light of the news that all players must be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed the news on Saturday and Djokovic has not revealed whether he has been vaccinated or intends to be vaccinated in order to play.

After losing narrowly to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals on Saturday, the world No 1 was asked for his reaction to the news and whether he will defend his title.

“We’ll see,” he said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Asked if he thought it was the right decision – and if he’d been in contact with Tennis Australia in recent times, he again did not commit. “I haven’t been talking to them, to be honest. 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.”

Zverev said he hoped a way could be found for Djokovic to play but that players needed to respect the wishes of the government.

“We are visiting another country,” he said. “This is not about tennis. This is about the virus that is going on, right? This is not about a tournament or tennis. We are visiting a different country. At the end of the day the country is allowing us to enter. We need to follow the rules and follow the guidelines.

“I hope he’s able to play. At the end of the day, I’m No 3 in the world, so if he doesn’t play, it’s easier to win the tournament. This is obvious. Also he’s No 1 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.”

Medvedev: “The only surprise was the late confirmation”

Earlier Saturday, world No 2 Daniil Medvedev, who has also not revealed his vaccination status, said he was surprised the decision took so long to announce.

“I actually am a little bit surprised that they confirmed it so late,” he said, after reaching the final in Turin. “It’s been months. At least I knew that’s probably the case. Prime minister or the governor of the state of Melbourne, I don’t know, I don’t remember exactly who said it, but it was kind of (an) official. I was surprised to see this news because I was like, Yeah, what’s new?”

Medvedev posted a tweet on November 9 saying he was looking forward to returning to Melbourne, where he lost in the final in 2021 to Djokovic.

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