skynews– Novak Djokovic has given the strongest indication so far he could still compete in the Australian Open after it was confirmed the World No. 1 was locked in to play the ATP Cup in Sydney in January.
ATP Cup organisers confirmed Djokovic’s attendance on the official tour website, giving fans hope he could still make an appearance at the Grand Slam event in Melbourne.
“Top seed Serbia, headlined by World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, will lead Group A, which will also feature Norway, Chile, and Spain. Two years ago, Serbia lifted the trophy at the inaugural ATP Cup by defeating Spain in the championship match,” ATP Tour said.
It comes after a highly publicised back-and-forth between the Serbian tennis star and the Andrews Government over a COVID-19 mandate put in place for all attendees at the 2022 Australian Open in Melbourne, including for players.
Djokovic previously refused to disclose his vaccination status – arguing it is a personal matter – and stated his attendance at the Grand Slam tournament would be conditional on Tennis Australia and the government’s COVID protocols.
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has stood firmly behind the vaccine mandate which will require all players, officials and fans to be fully vaccinated in order to attend the event – which will run from January 17-30.
Tennis Australia has also since informed Djokovic he will need to prove he is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to compete in Melbourne.
CEO and Tournament Director Craig Tiley said all players flying into Melbourne from across the world, staff and fans will need to be double dosed – under guidelines set out by the Andrews Government and Victoria Health – in order to attend.
“There has been a lot of speculation around Novak’s position. He has noted that and said publicly that it’s a private matter for him but we would love to see Novak,” he said.
“He knows he has to be vaccinated in order to play.”
While the Andrews Government was offered an opportunity to apply for an exemption to allow an unvaccinated Djokovic into Australia where he would be required to undergo 14 days of hotel quarantine, the Premier backed in the vaccination policy.
The New South Wales government will be required to apply for an exemption to allow the World No. 1 into the state to compete in the ATP Cup, which will go ahead from January 1-9, 2022.
Djokovic currently shares the 20 grand slam title record with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.