‘Quite a bit to play out’ in Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open saga

‘Quite a bit to play out’ in Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open saga

Australian Open boss Craig Tiley says there is “quite a bit to play out” before the saga around Novak Djokovic’s appearance at Melbourne Park is sorted.

The World No 1 has continually refused to reveal if he is vaccinated against Covid-19, a requirement to work in Victoria.

But there has been speculation Djokovic could apply for a medical exemption to play as he eyes a record-breaking 21st grand slam title.

Djokovic pulled out of Serbia’s ATP Cup team last week, continuing the mystery.

But Tiley says the clock is ticking on whether the nine-time Australian Open winner defends his title, with the tournament getting underway on January 17.

“We’ve still got a few charter flights coming in until the end of this week and then all the players will be here,” Tiley told the Nine Network. “As far as the status relates to Novak, I think we’ll have a much clearer picture in the coming days otherwise it’s getting pretty late to show up and play the Australian Open.

“There’s quite a bit to play out and I think it will play out in the coming days.”

Tennis Australia last month released its Covid-19 vaccination protocols for the Open, including the process for players seeking medical exemptions. If an exemption is deemed valid in line with the ATAGI guidelines, the medical exemption will be submitted to the Australian Immunisation Register. No panellists will ever know the identity of any player seeking an exemption.

Djokovic’s Spanish rival Rafael Nadal, who is tied with the Serbian and Roger Federer on 20 grand slam titles, recently arrived in Melbourne after recovering from contracting COVID-19 last month.