Tennis star Novak Djokovic on Tuesday was named in the Serbian team for January’s ATP Cup event in Sydney, following several months of speculation about his ability to travel to Australia after the nation mandated Covid-19 vaccines for all incoming travelers—including visiting athletes— while the tennis star refused to divulge his vaccination status.
- The men’s world number one player was listed as part of Serbia’s five-man team during Tuesday’s draw for the tournament in Sydney, Australia.
- The 16-team event will take place in Sydney in early January, weeks before the Australian Open in Melbourne, the year’s first Grand Slam event.
- Participants of the ATP cup include 18 of the world’s top 20 players with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal being the two notable absentees.
- Despite being named in the Serbian team, it is still unclear whether Djokovic has disclosed his vaccination status to authorities—which is a requirement for all incoming travelers into Australia.
- Last month, Djokovic’s father said that the Serbian will likely skip the Australian Open and equated the country’s vaccine mandate to “blackmail.”
Djokovic’s participation in the tennis calendar’s first major event of 2022 has been in question ever since he told Serbian tabloid Blic in October that he was unsure about traveling to Melbourne early next year to defend his Australian Open title. The 20-time grand slam winner insisted he will not reveal his vaccination status as it is a “private matter” and added that people were going “too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person.” This stance put his chances of participation in the Australian Open in jeopardy as the event’s host state of Victoria insisted that all incoming athletes be fully vaccinated. Later that month, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison offereda possible solution, suggesting the host state apply for a special exemption on their behalf and they agree to serve a 14-day quarantine. However, this was immediately ruled out by Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews who told the press that the state will not be applying for any exemptions for unvaccinated players and adding “the issue is basically resolved.”
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
As Djokovic has not publicly disclosed his vaccination status, the circumstances of his participation in the ATP Cup remain unclear. If he is allowed to travel to Australia to participate in the ATP Cup he will either have to prove that he is fully vaccinated or the state of New South Wales may have to apply for a special exemption for him and ask him to serve a two-week quarantine.