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Djokovic won’t want to risk missing Aussie Open
Published on: Friday, November 26, 2021
By: AFP
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SYDNEY: Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic (pic) won’t want to risk missing out on winning a record 21st Grand Slam title, tournament chief Craig Tiley predicted Thursday as a bumper series of lead-up events was announced.

All players heading to Australia for the opening major of the year in January must be vaccinated against Covid, casting doubt on whether the Serbian world number one will play.

Djokovic, who is gunning for a record-breaking 21st Slam crown, has refused to reveal if he has been inoculated.

“He has not shared his status with anyone,” Tiley told sports radio station SEN. “He believes that what you say around your medical position is private and he believes people should have the right to choose.”

But Tiley added: “Novak has won nine Australian Opens and I’m sure he wants to get to 10. 

He’s on 20 Grand Slam titles as is Rafa Nadal, who is coming, and Roger Federer, so one of them is going to surpass the other.  “I don’t think Novak will want to leave that feat to someone else. 

“One thing is for sure, if he is playing here in January, then he is vaccinated.” Djokovic said at the weekend that “we’ll have to wait and see” when asked whether he will be at Melbourne Park to defend his title.

Currently around 85 percent of players have got the jab and Tiley said he expected that to reach between 95 and 100 percent by January.

“We take a lot of credit for that because we put a vaccination requirement on it (coming to Australia),” he said.

His comments came as the season-opening schedule was released after repeated delays as organisers worked out what could be played where as Australia gradually relaxes state and international borders after long Covid lockdowns.

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