Djokovic has won in Melbourne for the past three consecutive years and another victory would see him edging Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal to 21 Grand Slam titles.
However, players will once again have to quarantine themselves upon arrival in Australia and will also have to live in bio-secure bubbles. They may also need to be vaccinated to compete, with the state of Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, introducing a vaccination mandate for all professional athletes.
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“I still don’t know if I will play in Melbourne,” Djokovic told Serbian newspaper Blic.
“I’m following the situation around Australia and as far as I know the final decision of the Australian government and Tennis Australia will be in two weeks, so it’s the first or second week of November.
“I don’t believe conditions will change much from what we already know. As was the case this year, there will be a lot of restrictions. What I heard from my manager who is in direct contact with the people of the Australian federation is that they are trying to improve conditions for everyone. Both for those who have been vaccinated and for those who have not.
It was recently reported that vaccination rates on the ATP circuit are 65%, while those on the WTA circuit are 60%.
World number 1 Djokovic is among those who have yet to confirm whether he has been vaccinated, having said in the past that he hopes he will not be forced to play.
“I will not disclose my status whether or not I have been vaccinated,” he said.
“It’s a private matter and under our law, whoever asks you, you can kind of make them ask you. It is an immoderate question. Too many people today allow themselves such freedom to ask for things and condemn a person. Whatever your answer: “Yes, I didn’t, maybe I don’t know, I’m thinking!” They will abuse it.
“The media has become… I have no words to describe it. It sows fear and panic among people and I do not want to participate in this breakup. I have the impression that everyone is hostile. I don’t want to give them a reason to write things about me.
“Now, what I told you, one of your editors can take it and make a scandal out of it. I don’t want to participate in any storm that’s happening right now. I’m telling you, I don’t know if I’m gonna go [to Melbourne]. Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful Grand Slam, I want to participate, I love this sport, I still have the motivation.
Djokovic has not played since his historic Calendar Slam candidacy ended in the US Open final by Daniil Medvedev.
He has confirmed that he will return to the Paris Masters on November 1 and will then play the ATP Finals in Turin and the Davis Cup Finals with Serbia.
He says his experiences at the Australian Open earlier this year, when players were confined to their hotel rooms most of the time, might deter him from making the trip again.
“The main problem is that if you are on a plane with an HIV-positive person, whether or not you are vaccinated, you automatically have to go to your room for 14 days.
“It happened to Viktor Troicki in January of this year. Not only him, but also 70 players had to be quarantined. I have spoken to a lot of players and it is something that everyone has a bad memory of.
“It was not a good experience for us, for example, it was very difficult for Viktor. We had this 40s where we could train, but if a man can’t train, then …
“Put a professional athlete in that kind of quarantine so they can’t get out of the room, then expect them to perform at a certain level, really… Not to mention the increased risk of injury, of which there is. had a lot, including me at this year’s Australian Open.
If such conditions remain, I think a lot of players will think very well whether they go or not. After all, it is the financial or economic aspect that decides with many players. I don’t know if I’m going to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.
Djokovic also expressed his frustration with the way he and others who have expressed reservations about the vaccine have been portrayed in the media.
“There are a lot of divisions in society, not only in sport, but across society, between those who have not been vaccinated and those who have been vaccinated. And it’s really scary. Whether we have fallen to discriminate against someone if they want to decide for themselves one way or another, if they want to be vaccinated or not.
“It’s really… I’m very disappointed with global society right now and the way the media is conveying and putting pressure on everyone. There’s too much ambiguity, too much information that’s not valid, so it turns out it is, so it isn’t, everything changes a lot.
Speaking of his future ambitions, he added: “I said before this year that my main goal is to reach historic number 1. [weeks as No 1] that I did and that my main goal is to continue my career to play the best possible Grand Slam and play for the national team. These are my main motivations. All other tournaments are less important to me in this part of my career and they are just preparation for national tennis or the Grand Slam. “
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