Novak Djokovic’s impressive record at the Australian Open could be in danger after the state officials announced Wednesday that any tennis player wanting to compete in the Grand Slam must be fully vaccinated.
Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio that participants will need both doses of the vaccine to be eligible to participate — a measure that applies to anyone trying to enter the country.
“You’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia,” Hawke said, via Reuters. “That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated.”
Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the trophy aloft during the awarding ceremony after defeating Rafael Nadal of Spain in the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championship, in Melbourne, Australia, early Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Djokovic, who has won nine titles at the Australian Open, including the last three, told local Serbian media on Monday that he will have to see what the rules are for the tournament before he can make a decision to attend or not.
He declined to reveal his vaccination status but seemed passionate about privacy regarding his decision.
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, serves to Jan-Lennard Struff, of Germany, during the third round of the U.S. Open tennis championships in New York, in this Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, file photo. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry,” he said. “People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person. Whatever you say ‘Yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it,’ they will take advantage.”
With the possibility of the sport’s biggest name missing out on the event, Hawke kept to his message: “I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He’ll need to be double vaccinated.”
Novak Djokovic (SRB) during his first round match in Rome, Italy, on May 11, 2021. (Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM/ Reuters)
According to Tennis Australia, details regarding international players “are yet to be decided.”