Tennis: Unvaccinated players unlikely to get visa to play Australian Open, says official

World No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic declined to reveal his vaccination status and said he was unsure if he would defend his title.

MELBOURNE (REUTERS) - Unvaccinated tennis players are unlikely to get a visa to travel to Australia and play in the Australian Open Grand Slam, a government official said on Tuesday (Oct 19).

"I don't think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country and if they did get a visa, they'd probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks," Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews told a media briefing.

He made the comments after men's world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic declined to reveal his vaccination status and said he was unsure if he would defend his title.

Victoria, where the Grand Slam takes place in Melbourne, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes, although authorities have not clarified what the requirement will be for those coming from abroad.

"Things beings as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne," Djokovic had told the online edition of Serbian daily Blic in a story published on Monday.

"I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

"People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person. Whatever you say, 'Yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it', they will take advantage."

Djokovic has won the season's opening Grand Slam a record nine times, including the last three editions.

The 34-year-old last competed at the US Open, where his bid to complete the calendar Slam - winning all four Majors in the same year - was ended by Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on a record 20 Grand Slam titles, said he plans to compete in the Paris Masters, the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin and the Davis Cup before the end of 2021.

"Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful Grand Slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated," he said.

"I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open and I understand the final decision (on Covid-related restrictions) will be made in two weeks. I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.

"My manager, who is in contact with the Australian Tennis Federation, tells me they are trying to improve the conditions for everyone, both for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not."

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.