Men’s tennis number one Novak Djokovic is unlikely to defend his Australian Open title because organizers are using “blackmail” by requiring all players to be vaccinated against covid, his father says.
Only players fully vaccinated are eligible for the first grand slam tournament of 2022 from Jan. 17-30 after an agreement between the government, state government and tennis chiefs.
“Given all this blackmail and the circumstances, it is likely that he will not participate,” Srdjan Djokovic told Serbian TV station Prva on Sunday.
The 34-year-old has left his vaccination status open, saying it is a private matter. Many have therefore speculated he is not yet jabbed and will miss the Melbourne showpiece.
Djokovic has won the Australian Open nine times and another grand slam victory would put him ahead of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal with 21 at the top of the all-time list.
His father added: “Everyone has the right to decide about their own health. To be vaccinated or not is everyone’s own decision.”