Novak Djokovic’s dad slams ‘blackmail’ of insisting all players are vaccinated at the Australian Open, hinting world No 1 will NOT participate in the tournament
- Srdjan Djokovic claimed there is an element of ‘blackmail’ in jabbing demands
- Only vaccinated players will be allowed to participate at the Australian Open
- Srdjan’s son Novak, the Serbian world No 1, is known to be anti-vaccination
- That stance therefore threatens his appearance at the Open in January 2022
Novak Djokovic’s father has hinted his son may not play the Australian Open due to the demands that everyone be vaccinated.
Srdjan Djokovic claimed on Sunday there was an element of ‘blackmail’ in the world No 1 having to reveal whether or not he had been jabbed.
‘Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won’t play,’ Djokovic Snr told TV Prava. ‘I wouldn’t do that, and he’s my son, so you figure out for yourself if he is going to play or not.’
Djokovic himself has been resolutely non-committal, and his father does have a history of outspoken commentary which sometimes does not come to pass.
Australian Open supremo Craig Tiley has insisted the tournament is going ahead as planned, despite the rapidly evolving situation around the Omicron variant.
Earlier in the week, the tournament director said he expects up to 95 per cent of professional players will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the time of the Grand Slam in January but is unsure whether Djokovic will be among them.
Novak Djokovic’s dad has hinted his son Novak, world No 1, may not play in January’s Australian Open tournament due to demands all players be vaccinated, calling it ‘blackmail’
The Australian Open still does not know if world No 1 Novak Djokovic will defend his title
‘Today more than 85 per cent are (vaccinated),’ Tiley said of professional players on local radio station SEN on Thursday.
‘And we take a lot of credit for that because we put a vaccination requirement on it.
‘We think by the time we get to January it will be between 90-95 per cent vaccinated because if you’re not, you cannot play.’
Melbourne health authorities are reported to be considering reintroducing a 14-day quarantine for overseas travellers, which could severely disrupt plans.
Djokovic has declined to disclose his status, saying it is a matter of personal choice, and was non-committal about defending his Australian Open title when asked about it at the ATP Finals.
Tournament director Craig Tiley (right) has spoken to Djokovic but does not know if he will play
‘The freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it’s me or somebody else,’ Djokovic said.
‘Doesn’t really matter whether it’s vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body.’
Tiley added on Thursday: ‘Novak has won nine Australian Opens, 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.
‘One of them is going to surpass the other and I don’t think Novak would want to leave that… to someone else.’