Doubts remain over Novak Djokovic’s US, Australian Open participation as he doubles down on vaccine refusal

Novak Djokovic says he still has a fondness for the Australian Open after he was deported on the eve of this year’s tournament over his COVID-19 vaccination status, but doubts remain over whether he will be able to compete next year.
The Serbian tennis star because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19, which meant he did not meet Australia’s strict entry requirements at the time.
The federal government recently declared travellers would , but Djokovic’s deportation carries an automatic three-year ban from entering the country.

The 35-year-old would need a change of heart from the new Labor government to allow him back in for next year’s Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic (left) defeated Nick Kyrgios in the 2022 Wimbledon men’s final. Source: AAP, Press Association / Dubreuil Corinne/ABACA

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley told the Nine Network’s Today program on Tuesday that he had spoken to Djokovic’s team and they were “very keen” to see him make a 2023 return, but it wasn’t their call to make.

“We know he wants to [play] and obviously it’s been a difficult year for him, but that’s going to be others’ decision,” he told the Nine Network.
After adding a seventh Wimbledon crown to his collection, Djokovic said he feels “most comfortable” playing in Australia where he has won an unrivalled nine grand slam titles in Melbourne.
“Australia probably is the place where I feel most comfortable because of my record there,” he said after landing a seventh Wimbledon crown and 21st major with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6 (7-3) final triumph over at the All England Club.
“Winning the title many times (in Melbourne), that’s the court where I would probably like to play. If I have to pick one match or one court, it would be there.
“Wimbledon is kind of close to that considering the success I had, particularly in the last seven, eight years.

“This centre court and this tournament still has the most special place in my heart because it has always been my childhood dream tournament.”


Djokovic also doubled down on his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19, which puts his attendance at the US Open in doubt. He is also not confident of obtaining an exemption.
“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter the United States or exemption,” he said.
“I don’t know. I don’t think the exemption is realistically possible … I think it’s just whether or not they remove this in time for me to get to USA.”
Regardless of whether he can compete in New York or Melbourne, Djokovic says retirement is not in sight.

“I don’t feel I’m in a rush, really, anywhere to end my career in a year or two year’s time – or whatever it is.”

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