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25 Dec, 2021 12:43

Djokovic reports cast more doubt on Australian Open participation

Djokovic reports cast more doubt on Australian Open participation

Novak Djokovic has reportedly pulled out of the ATP Cup in Sydney in January, spreading further uncertainty over his participation at the Australian Open later in the same month.

According to Serbian outlet Blic Sport, Djokovic will almost certainly not travel to Sydney for the international team tournament which kicks off on January 1, despite initially being listed among the participants.

“Novak 99% does not travel to the ATP Cup. He is training here [in Serbia], but he decided to miss this competition,” the outlet quoted a source as saying.

The news comes amid a lack of clarity over Djokovic’s attendance at the season-opening Grand Slam in Melbourne, which follows the ATP Cup later in January.

Australian tennis officials and local politicians have said that only fully vaccinated players can compete, otherwise they will need to be granted a medical exemption by an independent panel – which some have seized upon as a potential way in for 20-time Grand Slam king Djokovic. 

World number one Djokovic has refused to disclose his vaccine status but has consistently promoted freedom of choice.

Djokovic, 34, is the reigning Australian Open champion and would be targeting a record-extending 10th title overall in Melbourne, should he make the trip.

The Serbian star said at the beginning of December that fans could expect a firm decision from him “soon” on whether he will play, although they and event organizers are still awaiting news.

Elsewhere, a representative for the men’s ATP tour said this week that 95% of its Top 100 players had been fully vaccinated ahead of the Australian Open, which gets underway on January 17.