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Novak Djokovic Will Get Vaccinated Before Australian Open, Boss Says

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  • Novak Djokovic will get a COVID vaccine because he won’t want to miss the chance to win a 21st Grand Slam.
  • That’s the view of Australian Open boss Craig Tiley, who reiterated that unvaxxed players will be barred.
  • Djokovic has repeatedly refused to reveal his vaccination status.

Craig Tiley, the head of the Australian Open called out Novak Djokovic and seemingly attempted to goad him into getting vaccinated against COVID-19 by saying the tennis star “will not want to miss” his shot at a record 21st Grand Slam.

Australia has some of the toughest COVID measures anywhere in the world, and tournament bosses have made clear that unvaccinated players will not be allowed to play in the 2022 Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam.

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Djokovic’s COVID vaccination status is currently unknown, but he has made clear in the past that he does not want to be forced to get vaccinated, and has remained enigmatic about his chances of playing in Melbourne in February.

After losing in the semifinals of the ATP Tour Finals at the weekend, Djokovic was asked about whether he’ll play in the Australian Open, to which he replied that he’d have to “wait and see.”

“I haven’t been talking to them [Tennis Australia] to be honest,” he said at a post-match press conference.

“I was just waiting to hear what the news was going to be. Now that I know, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Craig Tiley and Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic has won the last three Australian Opens.

Andy Cheung/Getty Images


The Serbian star has a lot to lose if he skips the tournament for COVID reasons, and that’s something Tennis Australia CEO Tiley is keen to emphasize.

If Djokovic were to compete and win, he would move clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as the man with most slam wins. He’d still trail the 23 won by Serena Williams.

“One of them will surpass the others. I don’t think Novak would want to leave that to someone else,” said Tiley on local radio station SEN on Thursday.

The slam is Djokovic’s most successful. He has won it nine times, including the last three editions.

“Novak has won nine Australian Opens, I’m sure he wants to get to 10,” Tiley added.

During the interview, Tiley also said that more than 85% of elite players are now vaccinated against COVID, and that he expects the number to rise to closer to 95% by February.

“We think by the time we get to January it will be between 90-95% vaccinated because if you’re not, you cannot play.”

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