Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has reaffirmed world number one Novak Djokovic will not be allowed to defend his title if he can’t provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19.
Djokovic has continually refused to divulge his vaccination status, saying the matter is private.
Asked after bowing out of the ATP Tour Finals if he’d play in January’s event, Djokovic said he was taking a “wait and see” approach.
Watch Tennis Live with beIN SPORTS on Kayo. Live Coverage of ATP + WTA Tour Tournaments including Every Finals Match. New to Kayo? Start Your Free Trial >
Should Djokovic miss next year’s event, he would forgo his most immediate chance to break a grand slam title deadlock with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, as well as the chance to win an astonishing tenth Australian Open trophy.
Speaking to Channel Nine, Tiley said there would be no exceptions made for Djokovic regardless of the potential history on offer.
“This has been a bone of contention all the way through but when the premier announced that anyone coming into Victoria and playing at Melbourne Park will need to be vaccinated, that included the fans as well as the staff and also for the players,” he said.
“It was probably only a little more than 50 per cent of the players at that point that were vaccinated. We’ll get close to 90 per cent and there’s still a bit of time to go before that date at the end of December when everyone arrives.
“Everyone knows they have to be vaccinated seven days before they arrive into Australia and of course they have the choice of all the different vaccines, with Johnson and Johnson being one of them so they could just get one shot coming in.”
On Djokovic specifically, Tiley noted the 20-time grand slam singles champion was “entitled” to keep his vaccination status private, but it could cost him his chance at history.
“Novak has made it clear his status is private and personal to him and he’s completely entitled to that position, however to come into Australia there will need to be certified proof of vaccination that gets cleared by the medical officials here and that’ll be the same for everyone coming in,” he said.
“Everyone understands it, it’s been well received and we’ve contributed to more players getting vaccinated because we’re the first event that’s required mandatory vaccinations.”
Tiley said the summer of tennis remained on track to go ahead as planned despite the emergence of the omicron strain of Covid-19 throughout the world over the last week.
Djokovic is currently competing as part of Serbia’s team in the Davis Cup.