Novak Djokovic will not play at next month’s Australian Open after being denied a medical exemption due to his unvaccinated status against COVID-19, according to reports. The Serb has repeatedly refused to confirm whether or not he will be playing in the first Grand Slam of the new year after it was ruled that all competitors must be jabbed in order to feature.
Djokovic won this year’s edition of the tournament, beating Daniil Medvedev in the final to get his season off to the perfect start.
He went on to clinch the top prizes at the French Open and Wimbledon before losing out on Olympic gold in Tokyo over the summer.
The 34-year-old tasted defeat once again in the final of the US Open to miss out on a remarkable Calendar Slam as Medvedev sealed his revenge with a straight-sets victory.
Djokovic’s participation at next year’s Australian Open has been a topic of speculation for some time amid concerns over the world No 1’s vaccination status.
He has often remained coy when quizzed on whether or not he has received the jab, which is a requirement in order to play in Melbourne.
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It has recently been suggested that Djokovic could be granted special dispensation to feature at the tournament with the intention of defending his title.
However, it seems as though such a development will no longer take place, which is likely to spell trouble with regards to his hopes of winning another trophy on Australian soil.
Djokovic will not be allowed to play in the competition after he was denied an exemption on medical grounds by the Victorian government, according to Serbian daily newspaper Informer.
The report claims that he is explicitly opposed to picking up the Covid vaccine and will miss out on next year’s curtain-raising Grand Slam as a result.
A source close to Djokovic’s family is said to have revealed that there is ‘no chance’ of him being jabbed in order to play.
There are said to be strict rules in place, with any unvaccinated players being asked to provide a good reason why they have not yet been immunised.
In Djokovic’s case, he will not be permitted to take part at the Australian Open after it was ruled that he will be forced to stay at home unless he changes his mind between now and the start of the tournament.
He recently insisted that he does not want to publicly reveal his vaccination status for fear of being used as a tool by the media to stir up additional controversy.
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“It is a private matter, that is an immoderate question,” Djokovic told Serbian outlet Blic when pressed to comment on the topic back in October.
“Too many people today allow themselves such freedom to ask things and condemn a person. Whatever you answer – ‘Yes, I didn’t, maybe, I don’t know, I’m thinking!’ – they will abuse it.
“The media has become… I have no word how to describe it. It spreads fear and panic among people and I don’t want to participate in that rift.
“I feel that everyone is hostile. I don’t want to give them a reason to write some things about me.”
Meanwhile, it was revealed on Wednesday that Djokovic will also miss next year’s ATP Cup after withdrawing from the tournament, with Dusan Lajovic set to lead the Serbian team in the absence of his compatriot.