“Quite a Bit to Play Out” in Novak Djokovic Saga: Australian

Novak Djokovic’s participation in Australia Open 2022 still remains a doubt.© AFP

Australian Open boss Craig Tilly said on Sunday that there was still “a lot to play” over whether Novak Djokovic would defend his title in Melbourne, with a clear picture “in the coming days”. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has declined to confirm whether he has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and withdrew from the ATP Cup in Sydney this week without reason. All participants in the inaugural Grand Slam of the year beginning on January 17 are required to obtain a vaccination or medical exemption.

There is speculation that Djokovic has applied for one, which will be evaluated by an independent panel of experts and will remain confidential.

Tilly said the clock was ticking.

“We are still getting some charter flights by the end of this week and then all the players will be here,” he told the Nine Network.

“As far as the situation is concerned with Novak, I think we will have a much clearer picture in the coming days otherwise it is too late to show up and play the Australian Open.”

“There is still a lot to play and I think it will be a game in the coming days,” he said.

Government officials in the state of Victoria, which hosts the Australian Open, have been adamant for months that only vaccinated players can play in the tournament.

“Those are the rules. The medical exemption is just that – it’s not a loophole for privileged tennis players,” state deputy premier James Merlino said in December.

Djokovic’s arch-rival Rafael Nadal, who is also securing a record 21st Grand Slam title, is already preparing to recover from the coronavirus in Melbourne.

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Fellow 20-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer has been separated from injury.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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