Novak Djokovic Australian Open defence remains in doubt over vaccination row

World number one still refusing to confirm plans for Australian Open following vaccination mandate.

Novak Djokovic is still refusing to confirm he will defend his Australian Open crown after the tournament confirmed players must be vaccinated to compete.

Djokovic has not confirmed his vaccination status, although he is believed to be against it.

Australia has been incredibly dedicated to strict social restrictions to control the spread of COVID.

Players had to quarantine in Australia for two weeks before the event this year, but that was before widespread availability of the vaccine.

This year they have opted to make being fully vaccinated a mandatory requirement to receive a visa to enter the country.

That has heightened speculation about Djokovic's participation given he would be the overwhelming favourite to add to the nine titles he has already won in Melbourne.

Djokovic, though, is keeping his cards very close to his chest for now.

"I understand you want some answers on where I start the season, how I start it," he said.

"I'm really, really tired from this season and this whole year, so I just prefer sticking to the family quality time, rehab mode, then let's see what the future brings.

"You will be informed. I know what you want. I'm not going to give you an answer tonight. I know what you want to ask me.

"But you will be informed. That's all I can tell you. I cannot give you any date. Obviously, Australia is around the corner, so you will know very soon."

Djokovic's outspoken father Srdjan recently went on Serbian television complaining the Australian Open were trying to 'blackmail' his son into getting vaccinated.

However, the Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula quickly refuted those claims, insisting all players should respect the wishes of the country they wish to visit.

"If you're a visiting international tennis player, or a visiting sportsman of any kind, it's about your responsibility to the community that you are being welcomed into," Pakula said.

"That's why we are asking those international tennis stars to follow the same requirements as Victorians are.

"It's not about blackmail, it's about making sure the Victorian community is protected," he added.

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