Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘It’s getting pretty late’ – Australian Open chief expects to know imminently if Novak Djokovic will compete

Craig Tiley expects to “have a much clearer picture in the coming days” with regards to whether Novak Djokovic will compete at the upcoming Australian Open.

World number one Djokovic’s involvement at the first Grand Slam of the season has been plunged into doubt over the past few months due to the Serbian’s refusal and reluctance to publicly reveal his Covid-19 vaccination status.

Tournament director Craig Tiley announced in November that should players wish to compete for the ‘Happy Slam,’ they will be required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

This decision was met by heavy criticism from Novak’s father Srdjan, who labelled the move as “blackmail” and revealed he didn’t think his son would feature as a result.

Hopes were boosted when Djokovic was named in both Serbia’s ATP Cup team and the Australian Open entry list despite not revealing his vaccination status.

However, such speculation was dampened when Tiley said “everyone goes on the entry list, it’s not a commitment list” and Djokovic subsequently withdrew from the ATP Cup.

Although, Djokovic’s national teammate Dusan Lajovic revealed Djokovic is trying to get to the ‘Happy Slam’ and said “he is waiting for a decision.”

This could have related to reports that claimed Djokovic was denied a medical exemption.

Tennis Australia CEO Tiley told Australian television programme the Nine Network “we’ve still got a few charter flights coming in until the end of this week and then all the players will be here.

“As far as the status relates to Novak, I think we’ll have a much clearer picture in the coming days otherwise it’s getting pretty late to show up and play the Australian Open.

“There’s quite a bit to play out and I think it will play out in the coming days.”

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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.