Novak Djokovic Australian Open door slammed shut as minister backs ban – ‘No jab, no play’

Novak Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Daniil Medvedev.

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Novak Djokovic will be banned from the Australian Open unless he is double vaccinated, says the country’s Immigration Minister. The world No 1 has already expressed uncertanty around travelling to the tournament he is a nine-time champion at, as he refuses to disclose his vaccination status. It comes after news that unvaccinated players would be unlikely to receive a visa into the country to compete.

Djokovic is the heavy favourite to win a record 21st Major at the Australian Open, but talks of a vaccine mandate have threatened his chance to compete in Melbourne.

The world No 1 himself has now admitted he is unsure whether he will travel to Australia to play in the first Grand Slam of 2022, and his chances have been further diminished by a new stance from the country’s Immigration Minister.

“Our health advice is that when we open the borders, everyone that comes to Australia will have to be double vaccinated,” Alex Hawke told ABC Radio on Wednesday (October 20).

Djokovic has previously said he would never want to disclose his vaccination status, whether or not he received the jab, but will now need to get vaccinated and reveal his vaccination status in order to play the Australian Open.

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The Immigration Minister all but confirmed that no one would be allowed to enter the country unless they could prove they were double vaccinated.

He contnued: “I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everyone who wishes to visit Australia, you’ll need to be double vaccinated.

“That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players.”

It comes after the Victorian Premier admitted he thought it was highly unlikely tennis players would receive a visa into the country.

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“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country and if they did get a visa, they’d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks,” he told media after Djokovic’s comments on a posible vaccine mandate surfaced.

Andrews has previously warned that Grand Slam titles wouldn’t “protect” those who were unvaccinated and has now doubled down on those comments, saying: “I don’t think that the person you indicated [Djokovic] or any other tennis player, let’s not personalise it … or golfer or Formula One driver will even get a visa to get here. If I’m wrong I’m sure the federal government will let you know.

“[The virus] doesn’t care what your tennis ranking is, or how many Grand Slams you’ve won. It’s completely irrelevant. You need to be vaccinated to keep yourself safe and to keep others safe.”

His comments come after the Serb cast doubt over his participation in the Australian Open.

Speaking to Serbian newspaper Blic, Djokovic said: “I don’t know if I’m going to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.

“I have my opinion and it has always been the same. I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not.

“It is a private matter and according to our law, whoever asks you, you can in some way charge him for asking you. That is an inappropriate question.”

Despite admitting he had an issue with revealing his vaccination stance, the 34-year-old also said his doubts over competing were from a “sporting” perspective.

“I’m telling you from the sporting point of view, I don’t know if I’ll go,” he added.

“Of course, I want to go, Australia is my most successful Grand Slam, I want to participate, I love this sport, I still have the motivation, but I said why I have this motivation. That’s the whole story.”

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