Novak Djokovic Withdraws From ATP Cup; Australian Open Status Unknown
While Novak Djokovic not playing the ATP Cup isn’t big news or really isn’t even news in normal times, it is today. That’s because had Djokovic confirmed his participation in the competition, it would have all but confirmed his appearance in Melbourne for the Australian Open which is just under three weeks away.
Djokovic’s vaccination status has been the No. 1 question this off season. Is he vaxxed or isn’t he? He hasn’t said. And he doesn’t have to, per se. But, the fact that he isn’t playing the Sydney team event and he hasn’t publicly confirmed playing the Australian Open — where he has history on the line — indicates to me that he and the tournament and the Australian government are currently in talks of a possible medical exemption for the world No. 1.
And until that gets finalized, Djokovic can’t make any statement.
With just a few days before the ATP Cup and the start of the new season, many players are already in Australia. Djokovic still has time — he’d want to be in Melbourne a week before at the latest if that’s even allowable under Australian COVID policy.
So we should hear something from Novak or from the tournament within the week.
Further complicating things for Djokovic, if this variant continues to spread, other events might also require a vaccinated status for entry, and then you could see travel and hotel impacted for those few remaining unvaxxed players.
A few months ago, things were looking brighter for a straightforward start to the tennis season. Now, it’s again day-to-day as players continue to test positive and events scramble to handle the new rise in cases.
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