Novak Djokovic will give ‘more importance’ to vaccine stance over winning Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic is expected to give more importance to his vaccine stance than the Australian Open. Tennis legend Tracy Austin admitted she thought the world No 1 would choose to stand by his previous comments on declaring his vaccination status, rather than fight for a record 21st Grand Slam champion in Melbourne.

Djokovic’s Australian Open chances have been in doubt for several weeks, as he admitted he was unsure whether he would compete amid talks of a vaccine mandate.

According to a leaked email sent by the WTA Players Council, unvaccinated players are currently set to be allowed into the country to complete, but will need to undergo a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine.

The nine-time champion has previously spoken out against a vaccine mandate, saying he does not want to disclose his vaccination status.

Speaking to Serbian newspaper Blic, Djokovic recently said: “I don’t know if I’m going to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.

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“I have my opinion and it has always been the same. I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not.”

Although the world No 1 has now been given hope as Tennis Australia has told the WTA Players Council unvaccinated players can compete, a leaked email revealing this information may now be a “setback” in the plans.

Australian newspaper The Age reported: “Sources with knowledge of the situation told the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age Tennis Australia’s negotiations with the federal and Victorian governments to grant a handful of exemptions for unvaccinated players were progressing, but the leak of the WTA email would provide a setback.”

Now, two-time Grand Slam champion Tracy Austin has spoken out on Djokovic’s stance and admitted that she thinks the 34-year-old will prioritise his beliefs over a Grand Slam title.

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“He’s going for 21, the tiebreaking 21, but I guess not getting the vaccination could be more important,” she said, speaking on Tennis Channel.

If the Serb can win the Australian Open, he will break the record and win the most Grand Slam titles in history for a male singles player.

“He’s spoken out adamantly that he does not want to get vaccinated,” The American, who is the youngest US Open women’s champion of all time, continued.

“I guess you would still have the opportunity to go over there and quarantine.”

Earlier this year, players were required to undergo a two-week hotel quarantine but were allowed out of their rooms for five hours a day, to train and use the gym.

However, those who were on a flight with someone who tested positive had to undergo a ‘hard’ quarantine, something many players said they were unaware of before it happened.

Djokovic spoke out against this at the time, and has been concerned about the possibility of being put into another ‘hard’ hotel quarantine, saying: “The main problem is that if you are on a plane with a person who is positive, whether you are vaccinated or not, you automatically have to go to the room for 14 days.”

Austin admitted that, even if the world No 1 could play without getting vaccinated, he would likely be opposed to quarantining.

“I mean that’s gonna be very tough this year because 2021 everyone was in quarantine, but now the players that have gotten vaccinated wouldn’t have to spend time there.”
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