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Serbian Srdjan Djokovic, the father of world number one tennis player Novak Djokovic, has warned that his son will possibly not play the Australian Open, scheduled for January, as he does not want to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against covid.
“He would want it with all his heart because he’s an athlete, and we would love that too. Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won’t,” the tennis player’s father told Serbian Prva TV.
“I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself,” he said in the interview broadcast on Sunday.
To participate in the Australian Open, tennis players are required to have a vaccination certificate, as recently confirmed by Craig Tiley, director of the tournament.
Tiley said that the authorities of the state of Victoria, where the competition is held, announced that the vaccination was mandatory and the players were informed accordingly.
Djokovic, reigning Grand Slam champion, which has won nine times, has so far declined to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against the coronavirus and has made it clear that he does not want to disclose the status of his eventual immunization.
The Serbian player’s father defended what he considers the right of “everyone”, and therefore of his son, to decide whether to be vaccinated or not, and to maintain the privacy of decisions affecting his health.
At the same time, he assured that he himself does not know whether his son has been vaccinated or not.
“That is his exclusive right. Will he publish it, I don’t think so. I don’t know that decision either, and if I did, I wouldn’t share it with you. He has the right to decide as he wants,” he insisted.
On a possibility, already theoretical, of a 14-day quarantine in Australia as a condition to participating in the tournament, he declared that it is too hard to spend that time “in the hotel room and not even come out in the hotel lobby.”
If Djokovic wins the next Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year, he could surpass Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Switzerland’s Roger Federer with 21 titles.