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Novak Djokovic “Likely Not To Play” At Australian Open Against Vaccine “Blackmail”

Srdjan Djokovic, father of world tennis number one Novak Djokovic, said on TV on Sunday that his son “probably will not play” at the Australian Open in January due to the implementation of a vaccination mandate against coronaviruses, which he described as “blackmail”.

Djokovic is the highest ranked player on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour and has held that ranking longer than anyone in history. He’s also won more Australian Open tournaments than anyone, winning the trophy nine times. He’s won 20 Grand Slam tournament titles – more than anyone except Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both of whom also have 20 titles.

Djokovic’s absence from the Australian Open would have sentimental significance as it was the first Grand Slam he won in 2008 and he called it his “favorite tournament”.

Srdjan Djokovic made the remarks during an interview on a morning TV show on TV Prva in the family’s native Serbia.

“Regarding vaccines and non-vaccines [sic] are concerned, it is everyone’s personal right to be vaccinated or not. No one has the right to enter our privacy, it is guaranteed by the constitution, ”said Dean Djokovic, according to a translation of the news site affiliated to the Serbian state B92. “Everyone has the right to decide about their health. Whether or not he is vaccinated, it is his exclusive right. Will he publish it, I don’t think. I don’t know this decision either, and if I did, I wouldn’t share it with you.

Srdjan Djokovic said his son would like to go to the tournament “with all his heart … and we would love that too”.

“In these blackmail and these conditions, he probably will not do it,” he concluded. “I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself.

Djokovic’s attendance at the tournament has become widely regarded as uncertain as organizers have claimed they will require all players to present proof of vaccination before registering. Djokovic declined to respond to anyone asking if he had received a vaccine against the Chinese coronavirus. He tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus last year while competing in an unofficial tennis tournament, the Adria Tour, which he personally hosted amid global coronavirus lockdowns.

A study published in the scientific magazine Nature in July 2021 found that individuals who have been infected with the virus have some level of resistance to it in the future, although to what extent those recovered are immune to a second infection, especially in light of the discovery of significantly mutated coronavirus variants remained a point of contention in the scientific community.

Asked about the Australian Open last week, Novak Djokovic said “we’ll see”.

“Freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it’s me or someone else,” he said on another occasion last week. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose – in this particular case, what you want to put into your body.

Although Djokovic did not say whether he had received doses of an approved coronavirus vaccine, he openly said he did not want a coronavirus vaccine in 2020, before they became available.

“Personally, I am opposed to vaccination,” Djokovic said on Facebook in April 2020. “I wouldn’t want someone to have to be vaccinated in order to be able to travel.

“But if it becomes mandatory, what will happen?” I’ll have to make a decision. I have my own thoughts on the matter, and if those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know, ”he continued.

Pressed on the issue following this statement, Djokovic said: “I expressed my point of view because I have the right and I also feel responsible to highlight certain essential subjects which concern the world of tennis. . “

As a result of these remarks, and in a seemingly defiant display of the ATP Tour for canceling several high profile tournaments, Djokovic founded what he called the Adria Tour, a small tournament of ‘Eastern Europe with little to no coronavirus precautionary measures. The Adria Tour ended preventively when several of the main participating players, including Djokovic, tested positive for the coronavirus, resulting in widespread condemnation.

“I only see criticism lately and most of it is malicious,” Djokovic told Serbian media at the time. “It’s obviously more than criticism, it’s like an agenda and a witch hunt. Someone’s got to take the fall, a big name.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open, the French Open and Wimbledon since the ill-fated Adria Tour.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tilley almost immediately started asking questions about Djokovic when he announced a vaccine mandate for the Australian Open. He addressed the situation on Australian television on Monday in response to young Djokovic’s “we’ll see” comments – not the elder’s “blackmail” comments.

“It has been a bone of contention throughout, but when the Prime Minister announced that anyone coming to Victoria and playing at Melbourne Park will need to be vaccinated, that included the fans as well as the staff and also the players,” Tilley said, predicting “nearly 90%” of player compliance.

Tilley said that “everyone understands it” and that the vaccine mandate has “been well received”.

“[W]We have helped more players get vaccinated because we are the first event that requires mandatory vaccinations, ”Tilley said.

Tilley also specifically said that Djokovic would have to show proof of vaccination to attend and would not receive an exception based on his previous coronavirus positive status or his ranking as the world’s best male player.

Djokovic’s absence will leave only Nadal of the three most awarded players in Australian Open history, as Federer recovers from knee surgery. Their absence leaves an opportunity for a younger generation of players to advance to the final after nearly two decades of three-way domination.

Australia has enacted some of the world’s toughest Chinese coronavirus restrictions, including provisions such as the use of soldiers to trap people inside, which have raised concern among global human rights activists. the man. Australia deployed hundreds of troops last summer to ban people from leaving their homes. Australian authorities have used disproportionate violence on occasion to quell protests, including an incident in which police sprayed the face of an elderly woman.

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