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Djokovic: Vaccinated only – Australia’s uncompromising corona course

Tennis Australian Open

Vaccinated only – Australia’s uncompromising corona course

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Novak Djokovic has already won the Australian Open nine times. It is uncertain whether he will be able to defend his title

Source: AP / Hamish Blair

The Australian Open for tennis players will take place in Melbourne in January. Novak Djokovic wants to celebrate a record victory there. But maybe he is not allowed to enter the country at all. The local head of government makes this unmistakably clear.

Australia’s strict corona line could slow down Novak Djokovic’s tennis record hunt even before the first serve in Melbourne. The defending champion had barely stated that he would leave his start at the first Grand Slam tournament open because of the restrictions that were to be expected again, when Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews found clear words. “I do not believe that an unvaccinated tennis player will get a visa to travel to this country,” said the head of government of the state, whose capital is Melbourne, on Tuesday.

Djokovic has recovered from a corona infection, he left open in a conversation in the Serbian newspaper “Blic” published on Monday evening whether he is also vaccinated against the virus. “This is a private matter,” emphasized the Serb, saying that the question about it was inappropriate. The winner of 20 Grand Slam tournaments has triumphed nine times in Melbourne, another success in a good three months would make him the sole record holder in the four most important tournaments ahead of the Swiss Roger Federer and the Spaniard Rafael Nadal. “Of course I would like to go there,” emphasized Djokovic.

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At Andrews, the world number one does not need to hope for an exception if he is not vaccinated. “The virus doesn’t care what your tennis ranking is or how many Grand Slams you’ve won. You have to be vaccinated to protect yourself and others, “emphasized Victoria’s head of government and immediately looked to other sports. He also does not believe that other athletes, such as golfers or Formula 1 drivers, will be able to enter the country without a vaccination in the future.

Formula 1 and golf have been postponed

The race in Melbourne was canceled both last year and this season, next year it is scheduled for April 10th. The Grand Prix in Australia is traditionally the start of the Formula 1 season, but it will only be the third race in 2022 – also because of the hope that the corona situation will improve, which had already led to strict quarantine regulations this year . The golfers should not host their Australian Open until the end of 2022 instead of January.

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Djokovic pointed out that numerous professionals – including the German number one Angelique Kerber – had to go into a two-week hotel quarantine this January, even if they were only classified as contact persons. It looks like that again. On the other hand, the Belgrade man had to take harsh criticism last summer because of the Adriatic tour he had organized. There were pictures of celebrating players and corona infections – ultimately Djokovic himself was also affected.

Last week, Victoria’s sports minister, Martin Pakula, urgently advised tennis stars to be vaccinated. The authorities and the tournament organizers want to advise in the next few days, and there should be results at the end of next week. His agent told him that the Australian Tennis Association was trying to improve the situation for the professionals, said Djokovic.

Djokovic has been paused for five weeks

Top players like the Greek French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, who was skeptical in the meantime, or last year’s US Open winner Dominic Thiem from Austria have announced that they will be vaccinated. What will happen to Djokovic is open.

He has been paused since losing the US Open final a good five weeks ago, most recently he was absent from the Masters tournament in Indian Wells, California, without giving a reason. He now said that he spent a lot of time with his family after the final in New York and did not train. Due to the defeat, Djokovic had missed out on being the first men’s professional to win all four important tournaments in a calendar year, the Grand Slam, in 52 years. He would like to return to the Masters tournament in Paris at the beginning of November and then compete in the ATP Finals in Turin and the Davis Cup finals.

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