Australian Open boss hoping for a 'clear picture' of Novak Djokovic's chances of playing this year

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‘There’s quite a bit to play out’: Australian Open boss hoping for a ‘clear picture’ of Novak Djokovic’s chances of appearing at this month’s grand slam as uncertainty surrounding World No 1’s vaccination status continues

  • Novak Djokovic’s appearance at the Australian Open remains clouded by doubt 
  • Tennis players must be vaccinated in order to compete in Melbourne this month 
  • Djokovic’s vaccination status is a topic he has refused to discuss recently
  • Craig Tiley says there is ‘a bit to play out’ amid rumours of a medical exemption 


Australian Open chief Craig Tiley has revealed that there is ‘quite a bit to play out’ before the saga around Novak Djokovic’s appearance at this year’s grand slam is resolved.

The World No 1’s appearance in Melbourne is clouded by uncertainty amid his continual refusal to disclose if he is vaccinated against Covid-19, a requirement to work in Victoria.

However, it has emerged that Djokovic could apply for a medical exemption to play, with the Serb setting out for a record-breaking 21st grand slam title. 

Novak Djokovic's appearance at the Australian Open continues to be clouded by uncertainty

Novak Djokovic’s appearance at the Australian Open continues to be clouded by uncertainty

And Australian Open boss Tiley says there is a race against time as to whether Djokovic – a nine-time winner of this event – with the tournament set to begin on January 17. 

‘We’ve still got a few charter flights coming in until the end of this week and then all the players will be here,’ Tiley said. 

‘As far as the status relates to Novak, I think we’ll have a much clearer picture in the coming days otherwise it’s getting pretty late to show up and play the Australian Open.

‘There’s quite a bit to play out and I think it will play out in the coming days.’

Djokovic's refusal to disclose his vaccination status has led to concerns he may not play

Djokovic’s refusal to disclose his vaccination status has led to concerns he may not play

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley (above) says that there is 'quite a bit to play out' this month

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley (above) says that there is ‘quite a bit to play out’ this month

Last month, Tennis Australia unveiled its Covid-19 vaccination protocols for this year’s tournament, including the process for stars seeking medical exemptions.

If an exemption is considered valid, the medical exemption will be submitted to the Australian Immunisation Register and the identity of the player seeking an exemption will not be known. 

Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal touched down in Melbourne recently after recovering from Covid in December. 

The Spaniard, along with Djokovic and Roger Federer, has won 20 grand slam titles.

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