Novak Djokovic has had a sensational 2021 winning the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the French Open. He lost at the U.S. Open but continues to hold the world number one ranking. Djokovic now has 20 Grand Slams to his name and sits at the top of the list as he is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic was looking to get past Federer and Nadal at the 2022 Australia Open but may no longer be able to do that due his stance on vaccination.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced last week that they plan to open up their international borders in November now that the country is pushing towards 70 percent vaccination rates (first dose).
Australia will allow unvaccinated Australians who are stranded in other countries to return home but will not allow tourists and visitors into the country if they are not vaccinated.
Australia has also informed residents that they will be allowed to travel internationally and returns only if they are fully vaccinated. While anti-vaxxers in Australia have protested these new laws, the government is not willing to change its stance.
This has also put Djokovic in a difficult position as the new laws mean that he will not be allowed entry into Australia as Djokovic has chosen not to vaccinate so far. The Serbian has expressed concerns over the COVID-19 vaccine and says he is not fully convinced to get the jab.
Djokovic Will Not Get An Exemption
The Australian Open takes place in Melbourne, Victoria, a state that has been in lockdown for an extended period of time due to the number of COVID cases. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews addressed the issue of whether Australia could make an exception for Djokovic to play the 2022 Australia Open.
Andrews minced no words and said that Grand Slam titles will not get you an exemption or protect you. The only protection will be to vaccinate and then enter Australia. If you are not fully vaccinated, you will not be welcomed. Fully vaccinated means that individuals will need to take both doses of the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
There are quite a number of tennis players who have not vaccinated so far but Djokovic is the biggest name. Will Djokovic change his stance on the vaccine to play the 2022 Australian Open or will he skip it?