Rumours that Novak Djokovic will play in Australia raise more questions as he pulls out of ATP Cup

Novak Djokovic lifts the Australian Open trophy

It seems increasingly likely that Novak Djokovic will play in next month’s Australian Open, with his ongoing refusal to confirm his participation adding to the bizarre antics of the world No.1.

Djokovic has repeatedly refused to confirm whether he has been vaccinated against Covid-19, which is a requirement for all players participating in the first Grand Slam of 2022.

And while he has pulled out the ATP Cup that starts this weekend, there are strong suggestions emerging from Serbia that Djokovic will be flying to Australia imminently, with chartered flights carrying vaccinated players into the country already beginning to arrive.

Tennis Australia has confirmed that Djokovic has yet to signal his intentions ahead of next month’s Grand Slam tournament, with the ongoing confusion ensuring events off the court are taking a spotlight away from the action on it.

The ATP Cup is set to get underway this weekend without Djokovic and questions need to be asked why the defending Australian Open champion has opted to turn his vaccine status into such a big story.

He could have ended this debate long ago by confirming he has taken a vaccine, but he has instead opted to be promoted as a hero of the increasingly vocal anti-vaxer movement as he has emerged as a poster boy for their cause.

If he now flies to Melbourne having been fully vaccinated, Djokovic will need to explain why he has taken so long to confirm his status, ensuring more uncomfortable questions will come his way when he gets to Australia.

World No.3 Stefanos Tsitsipas has given his verdict on the Djokovic vaccine debate,

“It is his choice – I respect it. Everyone has the freedom to decide. I will go to Australia,” Tsitsipas said.

“I don’t promote vaccination, but I’m not even against it. I support anyone who wants to do it.

“I am not a doctor, I am an athlete and my outlook may not be the best when it comes to medicine. I will be vaccinated this year. I do it to have a normal life.”