Novak Djokovic could be banned from Australian Open handing Federer, Nadal advantage

Novak Djokovic could be sensationally banned from the Australian Open in a boost to his rivals’ chances of winning the next Grand Slam. A brilliant 2021 has seen Djokovic win three of the four Majors but he could pass up another after losing at the US Open last month.

Djokovic won the Australian Open earlier this year before lifting the French Open title.

The 34-year-old continued an excellent year by beating Matteo Berrettini in a stunning Wimbledon final in July. His victory at the All England Club brought him level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slams.

But Djokovic’s form has dipped of late. He was defeated by Alexander Zverev in the semi-final of the Olympics before losing the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev.

And there could be no place at January’s Australian Open due to his stance on vaccines.

A debate between tennis officials and Australian politicians is set to ensue over the issue of vaccines to protect against Coronavirus.

The Victorian Government appears likely to adopt a stance of mandatory vaccines for players.

However, Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley is believed to be reluctant to agree as several top stars are apparently vaccine-hesitant.

“Tiley said we won’t get star players and the state government effectively said ‘suck it up’ [and] they capitulated,” a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations told The Age.

World No 1 Djokovic is believed to be one of the players on the tour who has not been vaccinated. He implied as such before the French Open.

“I don’t think it’ll come to that. I hope not, because I’ve always believed in freedom of choice,” Djokovic told reporters in April when asked if mandatory vaccines were a possibility.

“And I will keep the decision as to whether I’m going to get vaccinated or not to myself, it’s an intimate decision and I don’t want to go into this game of pro and against vaccines, which the media is unfortunately creating these days.

“I don’t want to be labelled as someone who is against or who is for vaccines.

“I’m not going to answer the question and hope that everyone will respect that.”

Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has said that it is unlikely that anyone will be able to successfully apply for an Australian visa without proof of full vaccination.

“[Tennis grand slam] titles won’t protect you either. The only title that will protect you is you being able to have had your first dose and second dose,” he said.

“Logic tells me and numerous conversations with the Prime Minister… tells me that if you are an Australian citizen, you will be allowed home if you haven’t had the jab.

“But if you’re coming on a tourist visa or a business visa, so you’re not an Aussie, like, you are coming to visit, the notion of you getting in here without being vaccinated, I think is very, very low.”


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