Australian Open 2022: Novak Djokovic ‘awaiting decision’ on Grand Slam as COVID vaccine exemption rumors persist

Novak Djokovic’s Serbian teammates admit they are unsure whether the world number one will contest the Australian Open after his late retirement from the ATP Cup.

Djokovic is competing for a record 21 men’s Grand Slam titles and a 10th Australian Open crown.

The 34-year-old is on the entry list but has yet to commit to the Australian Open following the COVID-19 vaccination mandate agreed to by Tennis Australia and the Victoria Department of Health.

Djokovic has repeatedly refused to reveal whether or not he is vaccinated, citing concerns for his privacy.

Their participation in the Open has been further clouded by the withdrawal of the world number one from the Serbian team participating in the ATP Cup from 1 January in Sydney.

World No. 33 Dusan Lajovic was the last call to replace the 20 Grand Slam winner as Serbia’s No. 1 at the team event in Sydney and did his best to explain the situation on Thursday.

“He kept in touch with all of us and it was a last minute decision, the Australian Open is still uncertain, I don’t know the information,” Lajovic said.

Novak Djokovic (left) lifted the ATP Cup with Dusan Lajovic (second from left) and his teammates from Serbia last year. Credit: Getty

“I think it will arrive in the next few days or when the term ends.

“We don’t know at this point, but hopefully he will be there and he can play the Grand Slam.”

Lajovic said Djokovic had not disclosed his reasons for skipping Serbia’s ATP Cup defense.

World’s No.1 ‘waiting for a decision’ at Aus Open

“(Djokovic) said ‘I’m not going to the ATP Cup, we’ll see about the Australian Open,'” Lajovic said.

“He did not specify whether or not he will come, (but) that he is waiting for a decision.”

Djokovic’s message has done little to quell rumors about a possible attempt to obtain a medical exemption from the COVID vaccine.

An independent panel of experts has been assembled to assess all exemption requests made by players, coaches and officials traveling to Australia.

Blic, the outlet that broke the news that Djokovic would skip the ATP Cup, reported that tennis officials and government authorities were in talks about an exemption for the defending champion.

Since then, the Informer newspaper has claimed that his application was rejected.

But with Tennis Australia promising confidentiality in the process, official confirmation is only awaited when Djokovic decides to announce his plans.


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