Djokovic, this year during a ceremony in Belgrade.ANDREJ ISAKOVIC (AFP)
While the tennis players escalated to Australia and the Scotsman Andy Murray ironically – “they have already injected me with the third microchip,” he said after receiving a third dose of the vaccine against covid-19 -, the number one male, Novak Djokovic , keeps the organizers of the great Antipodean in suspense. With two and a half weeks to go before the Open begins, from January 17 to 30, the Serbian has not yet confirmed whether he will play it or not, while his country’s federation makes it official that he will not play the ATP Cup – a tournament Team preview to which Serbia will attend – and the Balkan press assures that the champion of 20 majors will request a medical exemption to be able to defend the title won a year ago in Melbourne.
“Otherwise, it would be a huge blow to the tournament,” aim the middle Blitz Sport, which in turn adds that the team led by Craig Tiley, director of the major Australian, is negotiating with the governors of the state of Victoria so that Nole can enter the country with a medical permit. According to the aforementioned newspaper, the authorities are considering introducing a “special rule” with the aim that Djokovic (34 years old) and other players who are in a similar situation – he has not yet communicated whether or not he has received the vaccine – can finally participate in the first big date of the season.
In any case, the information contrasts with the overwhelming message that has been issued so far from the political part: without injection, there is no visa. “There are no special rules for tennis players or for anyone,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in the middle of the month. “He [Djokovic] will follow the same requirements as everyone to enter Australia, “added the leader in a statement to the Sky News channel. “Vaccines have nothing to do with blackmail, but with making the Victoria community more protected,” Victoria Sports Minister Martin Pakula noted on day 1.
This statement came after Djokovic’s father, Srdjan, seriously questioned his son’s presence at the Open a month ago. “Sure he wants to play it with all his heart, but under these conditions and blackmail, he probably won’t. I would not do it, and he is my son, so the conclusion can be deduced … “, the parent hinted to the Serbian channel Prva TV, annoyed to understand that from one establishment and another, from the sports and the government, he was putting his son between a rock and a hard place, taking into account that Djokovic has repeatedly refused to confirm whether or not he had been vaccinated or not.
Djokovic, recently during the presentation of some stamps. / TWITTER
“It is your right, you have the right to decide,” defended the father, along the lines of the son. “We should have the freedom to choose, to decide what we want to do and what we want to put into your body. I have always been an advocate for freedom of choice, and I will always support him because freedom is essential for a happy and prosperous life, ”Djokovic referred in November, while contesting the Masters Cup. Later, the current king of the circuit played the Davis Cup and asked that his privacy be respected. From there, a heartfelt message to Manolo Santana after the death of the Spanish pioneer, an appearance to present stamps with his image and above all silence. Silence press.
Meanwhile, a few days ago Tiley, the Open boss, slipped that “very few” medical exemptions would be granted. “And if Novak is going to come to play it is because he is vaccinated or because he has the exemption,” he said, aware that Djokovic is one of the great assets of his sport and that without him and Rafael Nadal, whose presence is also in the Due to the fact that he has not confirmed his attendance either – he is recovering from the virus, which interrupted his reappearance after almost half a year without playing – the poster for this edition would lose much shine. “Mind you, the exemption is not a means of circumventing the rules,” Victoria’s Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino had previously warned.
Exemptions, according to the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (ATAGI), are obtained through a comprehensive evaluation that includes the following cases: having suffered from inflammatory heart disease in the last three months; not having the complete vaccination schedule due to having contracted the virus in the last months; have experienced a serious condition attributable to the vaccine; or have mental health disorders for which the vaccine may pose a risk.
“I don’t know what the situation is with Novak. The last thing I saw is that he was on the entry list, and I assume that he will play and that he has already been vaccinated. They have told us that we have to comply with the rules, that if you want to play, you have to be vaccinated, so I take it for granted that he has been vaccinated, “said Murray two weeks ago, before the Serbian’s loss in the ATP was known Cup and in parallel to the French Pierre-Hugues Herbert speaking clearly for the newspaper Alsace: “It is a personal choice not to get vaccinated and traveling to Australia is not an option for me. I do not know if today it is feasible to be a tennis player without being vaccinated”.
Nine-time champion in Melbourne – a historical record in men’s terms – Djokovic keeps the pulse as the calendar continues to discount leaves in the direction of the 17th.