Novak Djokovic won’t want to risk missing out on winning a 21st Grand Slam, says Australian Open chief

Novak Djokovic lifts the Australian Open trophy

It remains unclear if Novak Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title next year, but tournament director Craig Tiley believes the world No 1 is unlikely to take any chances when it comes to the Grand Slam record.

Australian Open organisers confirmed last week that all players competing at the 2022 hard-court major will have to be vaccinated.

It has cast doubt over nine-time champion Djokovic’s participation in the tournament as he has refused to disclose his vaccination status.

Tiley, though, feels the fact that the Serbian is gunning for a record-break 21st Grand Slam is likely to make him think twice before missing the event.

“He has not shared his status with anyone,” he told sports radio station SEN.

“He believes that what you say around your medical condition and status is private and he believes people should have the right to choose.

“We have made it very clear that the requirement to play at the Australian Open is you have to be vaccinated.

“Novak has won nine Australian Opens and I’m sure he wants to get to 10. He’s on 20 Grand Slam titles as is Rafa Nadal, who is coming, and Roger Federer, so one of them is going to surpass the other.

“I don’t think Novak will want to leave that feat to someone else.”

Novak Djokovic warned he is running out of time to get vaccinated if he wants to play at Australian Open

Asked about the controversy surrounding the world No 1’s position on getting vaccinated and what the public reaction to Djokovic might be, Tiley replied: “It has been a hot topic, I have answered more questions on that than anything else. He is one of the greatest of all time and our public appreciates that.

“He has a view that some share and the majority don’t. There will be fair treatment of Novak. One thing we know, if he is playing here in January, then he is vaccinated.”