Novak Djokovic Australian Open 2022

Mats Wilander believes Novak Djokovic’s ‘career is on the line’ if he remains unvaccinated

Mats Wilander is concerned Novak Djokovic may be putting “his career on the line” if he remains unvaccinated and feels he may be forced to “do something he doesn’t want to.”

During the Australian Open deportation saga, it was revealed that World number one Djokovic had not been vaccinated against Covid-19.

Djokovic had been granted a medical exemption to compete at the Australian Open but it was voided upon his arrival at the border. Whilst he fought the decision in court and had his visa reinstated, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke took the executive decision to overturn the court’s ruling.

The decision was upheld, meaning Djokovic would be deported just days before the first Slam of the season started and would miss out on the opportunity to be the first player to reach 21 Grand Slam titles.

Djokovic’s woes look to continue after his French Open participation was also plunged into doubt when French parliament voted to introduce vaccine passes.

Speaking from the Eurosport Cube, seven-time Grand Slam victor Mats Wilander said “it’s sad news, but we will have a new winner.

“The judge has to realise that maybe he is changing the history of our sport – but what can you do? Now there is a good chance all three will end up on 20 Grand Slams which will [still] be amazing.

“He [Djokovic] is going to go home, practice, and he’s going to work out and get ready for the hard courts. The big question is whether he is going to be able to travel around the world?

“Could we have a new number one? Well, it’s possible. I think so much depends on how much Novak is allowed to travel, how many tournaments he is allowed to play, and in the end, is he going to have to get vaccinated?

“His career is on the line and he might have to do something that he doesn’t really want to do.

“I think it [Djokovic’s deportation] will have slightly negative consequences for the tournament early on because people are obviously going to be talking about it, the crowd are going to be talking about it.

“But after a few days I think we are to going to realise that the players are so good on the men’s side and the women’s side.

“But for the first couple of days, questions are going to be asked to the players at the press conferences, phone calls from their home country. I don’t even know if the story is going to be over by the end of the Australian Open.”

Watch the Australian Open exclusively live on discovery+, Eurosport and Eurosport app

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.