tennis

Djokovic Faces Uncertain Tennis Future

22/12/21

- Grant Whittington

Unless he discloses the information to the public himself, and with most governments and agencies obliged to keep such information confidential, it’s likely that no one will ever truly know if Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has been vaccinated or not. However, like a number of athletes at the moment, Djokovic’s stance on mandatory vaccination is certainly no secret, and come 2022, and the start of the Australian Open in Melbourne, if he is not present, the public, tennis betting sites and the media will inevitably want to jump to certain conclusions.

Djokovic, however, maintains that his repeated refusal to follow protocol and provide his vaccination status to the medical committee for the upcoming 2022 Australian Open, is purely based on principle.  After all, according to the Covid19 protocols currently set for the tournament, all tennis players with the exception of those with a valid medical reason, must be vaccinated, or will essentially be denied entry. Personal doubts or ideas about the vaccine, however, obviously do not qualify as a medical reason, and so players like Djokovic are left in a quandary.

Other Players Openly Forfeit

Among the few tennis players that have openly forfeited their inclusion and chance to win the 2022 Australian Open are French player Pierre-Hugues Herbert, a five-time grand slam doubles champion, and Australia’s own teenage tennis prodigy, Olivia Gadecki. Both have chosen not to be vaccinated and new online bookies have taken note too.

Djokovic’s Father Defends His Son

Srdjan Djokovic, an avid supporter and occasional spokesman for his tennis star son, has gone on record in defence of his son’s stance on Australian Open Covid19 protocols. Srdjan has told reporters that it is likely that his son will not be attending the 2022 Open in Australia.

Srdjan stated in a recent interview that he knew his son wanted to compete, but that he felt blackmailed, and that would not help him decide positively.

Tennis Australia Maintains A Firm Stance

Upon questioning by the media, Australian sports minister, Martin Pakula, has stated that he hopes Djokovic will be present at the upcoming Open, but if he chooses not to get vaccinated, and isn’t eligible for a medical exemption, then he won’t play. Pakula’s forthright words are in echo of the overall government and sport institution’s increasingly stringent stance on Covid-19 protocol.

Paluka has denied suggestions that the Australian government is behind the enforcement of the tennis tournament’s strict rules though, stating that the resolution to have all players fully vaccinated unless medically exempt, was already well-established and decided upon. This was done internally by Australia Tennis, and according to the guidelines of the independent Australian Technical Advisory Group On Immunisation, or ATAGI. Now, new online bookies wait to see if they’ll have to consider the player when determining the odds.

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