Novak Djokovic Australian Open mystery deepens as players arrive for ATP Cup

Fans are unsure if Djokovic will be at the Australia Open

With players starting to arrive in Sydney for the men’s season-opening ATP Cup, there was still no clarity on Monday whether top-ranked Novak Djokovic would be taking part in the team tournament or in the Australian Open that follows.

There has been intense speculation over Djokovic’s participation at the Australian Open, which starts on 17 January, with the 34-year-old, who is opposed to vaccinations repeatedly declining to say if he has been innoculated against COVID-19. The rate of vaccination in the top 100 in men’s tennis is 95%, according to ATP Tour data.

With the organisers of the Grand Slam confirming that all players and participants at Melbourne Park must be vaccinated or have a medical exemption granted by an independent panel of experts, Djokovic has kept everyone guessing.

If the Serbian does not turn up, world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev would be the top draw at the ATP Cup, and he has already arrived in Sydney to help Russia defend its title.

Djokovic, 34, has won a record nine Australian Open titles, including the last three, and the chances of him playing Down Under improved when he was named in Serbia’s team for the ATP Cup.


But on Saturday, a report in Serbian daily Blic said Djokovic would not be travelling to Sydney for the tournament, adding to doubts over whether he will play at Melbourne Park from 17 January.

His father Srdjan told a Serbian television channel last month that Djokovic would probably pull out of the major, saying Tennis Australia’s stance on mandatory vaccination was tantamount to “blackmail”.

Djokovic’s pullout will, however, not impact Serbia’s participation in the tournament which has a $10 million prize purse, with the teams locked in on 7 December based on player entries.

Owing to Djokovic’s current world ranking, Serbia received top billing for the 16-team ATP Cup from 1-9 January and were put in Group A along with Norway, Chile and Spain when the draw was held earlier this month.

With Serbia, who won the inaugural ATP Cup in 2020, scheduled to open its campaign on Saturday, time is running out for Djokovic to play in Sydney and then in Melbourne, where he would have a chance to break a three-way tie for 20 major titles, currently shared with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.


Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

{{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}}

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Source: Read Full Article