Novak Djokovic is the king of the Australian Open, with more wins than anyone in the tournament’s history. However, there is a chance he won’t compete at this year’s competition after the Serbian refused to vaccinate against Covid-19 – and he has spoken out on his decision.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open for the last three years, having beaten Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in February to claim his hat-trick of successive titles.
It was his 18th Grand Slam title, and having claimed two more since, he was in line to head to Australia to make history as the man with the most Grand Slam singles titles of all-time.
But due to current vaccination laws in Australia, players will have to quarantine upon arrival and be vaccinated – with Melbourne making the vaccine mandatory for all athletes.
And Djokovic is unsure as to whether he will play to win his fourth-straight title and become the most successful men’s singles player ever.
“The main problem is that if you are on a plane with a person who is positive, whether you are vaccinated or not, you automatically have to go to the room for 14 days,” Djokovic said to Serbian newspaper Blic.
“That happened to Viktor Troicki in January this year. Not only him, but also 70 players had to be quarantined.
“I talked to a lot of players and that is something that everyone has a bad memory of.”
Djokovic has rallied other players to come together and challenge those in power about the rules if they are to repeat.
“I would like the players to unite a little more, whether through PTPA or something independent or through ATP or WTA, just to be relevant in some way in some decision-making process,” he added.
“Now, I feel like the players aren’t wondering about anything at all. Which is not much different from the past as things were done, not just for Australia but for many other tournaments in general, not to go into details now.
“I don’t know if I’m going to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.
“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.
“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.”
Djokovic could have won a calendar Grand Slam this year by winning the US Open.
But Medvedev got his revenge by beating Djokovic in straight sets.