Novak Djokovic’s father slams Australian Open ‘blackmail’ as he admits his son ‘probably won’t play’

Novak Djokovic looking ahead

It is unlikely that Novak Djokovic will compete at next year’s Australian Open, according to his father Srdjan Djokovic, who has hit out at officials for introducing a mandatory Covid vaccination rule for next year’s tournament.

After weeks of back-and-forth debates, Australian Open organisers have finally confirmed that only fully vaccinated players will be allowed to take part in the 2022 season-opening Grand Slam.

Following confirmation of the mandate, Djokovic was non-committal when asked if he would play at Melbourne Park and replied: “We’ll see.”

Novak Djokovic gives his first thoughts on the Australian Open vaccine mandate

However, his father has lashed out at officials and insists his son should not be forced to get vaccinated.
“As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not,” Srdjan told TV Prva.

“Everyone has the right to decide on their health.

“Will he publish it? I don’t think so. I don’t know that decision either.

“And if I did, I wouldn’t share it with you. He has the right to decide as he wants.”

Djokovic Snr then gave the biggest hint yet that the 20-time Grand Slam winner won’t defend his Australian Open title next year due to the “blackmails”.

“It was embarrassing because of the announcement of those leaders in the provinces of Australia, who gave themselves the right to call out the nine-time champion of Australia,” he added.

“Whether he will appear there depends on them how they will pose.

“He would want it with all his heart because he is an athlete, and we would love that too.

“Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won’t [play]. I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself.”