Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)
Unvaccinated tennis stars are unlikely to be granted visas to play at the Australian Open, a local official warned on Tuesday, with defending champion Novak Djokovic raising doubts about his own participation in the upcoming tournament.
Victoria Prime Minister Dan Andrews said he expected no exceptions to Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine rules for players participating in the January Grand Slam.
“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player will get a visa to enter this country,” Andrews said.
“The virus doesn’t care how you rank in tennis or how many Grand Slam tournaments you’ve won,” he added.
“And if they did get a visa, they should probably be quarantined for a few weeks, when no other player has to.”
Andrew’s comments came as Djokovic told Serbian media that he was not sure if he planned to compete in the Australian Open.
“I don’t know if I’m going to go to Australia. I don’t know what’s going on. The current situation is not good,” Djokovic told Serbian daily Blic in an interview published Tuesday.
The world number one has publicly opposed vaccines in the past and declined to say if he was vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“It’s a private matter,” Djokovic said in the interview with Blic. “Too many people today give themselves the freedom to ask questions and judge people … whatever your answer can be misinterpreted.”
“Of course I want to participate, Australia is the Grand Slam where I have had the most success,” added the defending champion and nine-time winner in Melbourne.
Djokovic also said he plans to return to competition at the Paris Masters from November 1-7 and then compete in the Davis Cup from November 25 to December 5.
He has won three back-to-back Australian Open and is said to be looking for a 21st major tournament in Melbourne – the capital of Victoria – after failing at the US Open in September.
The Prime Minister of the State of Victoria has also indicated that anyone wishing to attend the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix should be vaccinated.
“The Grand Prix is in April, I don’t think there will be a crowd for the Grand Prix made up of people who haven’t been double-dosed,” Andrews said.