Sport Australian Open: Director does not know if Novak Djokovic will play
Aus Open boss makes surprise vaccination call
Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has made a surprise call on vaccination rates less than two months out from the event.The reigning champion of the Australian Open, 20-time grand slam winner Novak Djokovic, has refused so far to reveal his vaccination status.
tournament director Craig Tiley expects up to 95 per cent of professional players will be vaccinated against by the time of the Grand Slam in January but is unsure whether will be among them.
Tiley said Victoria state's strict vaccination mandate had motivated players to get their shots beforePark, where fans and staff will also be banned if unvaccinated.
Tiley also said he had spoken to world No 1 Djokovic, the Australian Open men's champion, but was none the wiser as to the Serbian's vaccination status.
Djokovic surpasses 'hero' in record masterclass
Novak Djokovic again proved why some think he's the GOAT, finishing the year ranked No. 1, breaking a tie with a childhood idol.Following a two-month break after his loss to Daniil Medvedev in the U.S. Open final, which ended his pursuit of a calendar-year Grand Slam, the top-ranked Djokovic returned this month and won the Paris Masters.
'Today more than 85 per cent are (vaccinated),' Tiley said of professional players on local radio station SEN on Thursday.
'And we take a lot of credit for that because we put a vaccination requirement on it.
'We think by the time we get to January it will be between 90-95 per cent vaccinated because if you're not, you cannot play.'
Tiley said there were 'one or two players' who had medical exemptions from vaccination but the exemptions were in line with Victoria's health rules.
'And so it should be, because there shouldn't be any preferential treatment coming into the state compared to what the regular community is going through,' he said.
Djokovic has declined to disclose his status, saying it is a matter of personal choice, and was non-committal about defending his Australian Open title when asked about it at the ATP Finals.
Djokovic opens Finals bid with win over Ruud
Novak Djokovic began his attempt to equal Roger Federer's record number of ATP Finals triumphs with a straight-sets 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 win over Casper Ruud on Monday. Ruud held a 4-3 advantage in the tie-break but Djokovic turned up the pressure by winning four straight games to claim the first set, and from there he raced clear. Djokovic immediately broke Ruud at the start of the second set and from there he strolled to victory, breaking one more time on his way to claiming the second set and the match.
‘The freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it’s me or somebody else,' Djokovic said.
‘Doesn’t really matter whether it’s vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body.’
Tiley added: 'Novak has won nine Australian Opens, I'm sure he wants to get to 10.
'He's on 20 Grand Slam titles as is Rafa Nadal, who is coming, and Roger Federer.
'One of them is going to surpass the other and I don't think Novak would want to leave that... to someone else.'
Though massively successful at Melbourne Park, Djokovic has rubbed local fans the wrong way at times and was pilloried in January for trying to secure better quarantine conditions for players as they isolated in the lead up to the 2021 tournament.
Tiley did not expect fans would give Djokovic a hard time if he appeared at the tournament because it would mean the Serb had been vaccinated.
Djokovic's dad blasts Australian Open 'blackmail'
Novak Djokovic's hopes of claiming a 10th Australian Open title this summer appear slimmer than ever before.The Australian Open isn't scheduled to start until January 17, but a Victorian state-enforced COVD-19 vaccine mandate has put pressure on Djokovic's availability, who to date has refused to reveal his vaccination status.
'He's one of the greatest players of all time,' said Tiley.
'He's had a view on something, some share (it) and the majority don't. And I think there will be fair treatment of Novak.'
Djokovic declined to say whether he will play at the first Grand Slam of 2022 and defend his title next year after tournament organisers announced a ban on unvaccinated players earlier this month.
On whether he would defend his crown Down Under, he said: 'We’ll see. I haven’t been talking to them. I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be. Now that I know, we’ll just have to wait and see.’
Tennis Australia sweating on COVID 'questions' .
Craig Tiley says TA is working with the government as a new COVID-19 variant threatens to spoil the summer of tennis. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the new version of coronavirus that was discovered in South Africa as "a variant of concern".As it stands, the Australian Open is scheduled to commence on January 17.READ MORE: NBA whacks LeBron with fine for 'obscene gesture'Due to strict health orders in Victoria, players arriving in the country, as well as the fans in attendance, must have proof of having taken a COVID-19 vaccination as part of a state mandate. © Getty World No.