Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic awaits word on Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic is still waiting to find out if he will be allowed to return to the Australian Open in January after missing the tournament this year because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

“It’s really not in my hands right now,” Djokovic said at the Laver Cup on Thursday. “So hopefully I get some positive news.”

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Djokovic is a 21-time Grand Slam champion – a total that ranks second among men, behind only Rafael Nadal’s 22 and one ahead of Roger Federer’s 20 – and he won a record nine of those trophies in Melbourne Park.

But he was deported from Australia last January after a 10-day legal saga that resulted in his visa being revoked; he was initially granted an exemption from strict vaccination rules by two medical panels and Tennis Australia in order to play at the Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic hopes to play at the Australian Open. (AP)

Djokovic, 35, from Serbia, has insisted he will not receive vaccinations against the disease caused by the coronavirus, even if it means missing tennis events.

He was unable to take part in two of the four Grand Slam tournaments this season, including the US Open which ended this month. The United States and Canada currently prohibit entry to foreign citizens who have not received COVID-19 vaccines, and so he also missed four other events in North America in 2022.

Djokovic was able to enter France, losing to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros in June, and England, winning the title at Wimbledon in July.

The Laver Cup, which begins on Friday, is Djokovic’s first competition since Wimbledon.

” I have no regrets. I mean, I’m sad that I couldn’t play (at the US Open), but it was a decision I made and I knew what the consequences would be,” he said Thursday. “So I accepted them and that’s it.”

Djokovic has spent more weeks at No. 1 in the ATP rankings than anyone, breaking Roger Federer’s record, and is No. 7 this week, partly because of a lack of activity and partly because no points ranking has not been assigned to anyone. at Wimbledon this year.

“I’m not used to doing, obviously in the last 15-20 years, longer breaks between tournaments, but that’s how it is,” Djokovic said. “That’s kind of the situation I was in. I’m just thrilled to be able to play here now – and most of the other (tournaments) indoors for the rest of the season.”

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