Clearest sign yet Novak Djokovic WILL play at the Australian Open

Clearest sign yet Novak Djokovic WILL play at the Australian Open
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Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will take part in the ATP Cup in Sydney – giving strong indications the world no.1 is vaccinated and will play at the Australian Open.

Djokovic is an outspoken anti-vaxxer, despite contracting the virus last year while hosting a party in the middle of the pandemic.

Tennis Australia announced in November that unvaccinated players would be unable to play in the Australian Open, throwing the 34-year-old’s title defence into severe doubt. 

However, the ATP’s announcement on Tuesday that he is set to play in a warm-up tournament in Sydney suggests one side have had a change in tact. 

‘Top seed Serbia, headlined by World No.1 Novak Djokovic, will lead Group A, which will also features Norway, Chile and Spain,’ the ATP said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.

‘Two years ago, Serbia lifted the trophy at the inaugural ATP Cup by defeating Spain in the championship match.’ 

Clearest sign yet Novak Djokovic WILL play at the Australian Open
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Djokovic is the greatest champion in Australian Open history and is set to chase a 10th title in Melbourne when the competition kicks off on January 17 next year. 

He has so far refused to be drawn in on questions about his availability for the opening grand slam, saying in an interview last year he would have to consider his future in the sport if vaccinations were made mandatory.

‘My issue here with vaccines is if someone is forcing me to put something in my body. That I don’t want. For me that’s unacceptable,’ he told the New York Times.

He had questions with the Covid vaccine in particular because the virus was constantly ‘mutating’. 

Clearest sign yet Novak Djokovic WILL play at the Australian Open
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His inclusion in the ATP Cup suggests he has been vaccinated, given Tennis Australia’s mandate on athletes competing. 

The 34-year-old said just last month that he was yet to speak to Tennis Australia about his eligibility for the competition.

‘I haven’t been talking to them, to be honest. I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be and now that I know we’ll just have to wait and see,’ he said. 

‘I understand you want answers on where and how I am going to start the new season, but we’ll see what the future holds.

‘I can’t give you a date, but obviously the Australian Open is coming soon, so you will know very soon.’  

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