Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

‘It’s disappointing’ declares two-time Slam finalist on Novak Djokovic uncertainty

While former world number eight Mark Philippousis understands that Novak Djokovic does not wish to reveal his vaccination status ahead of the Australian Open, he is adamant a decision on his participation should have been made by now. 

With less than two weeks until the start of the first Major of 2022, the public are none the wiser as to whether the world number one will compete for a record 21st Slam title.

Djokovic is still training in Marbella, Spain on the same surface and with the official balls for the Australian Open, leaving fans in suspense.

Philippousis, who reached the 1998 US Open and 2003 Wimbledon finals, believes that a decision could have been made and announced far sooner.

“It’s disappointing it has taken this long to get clarity on Djokovic’s situation, as complex as it is,” Philippousis told Code Sports.

“I respect his position of not wanting to make his medical history public but there are so many people hanging on his decision and I feel they should’ve had an answer by now.

“Not everyone shares Djokovic’s position. I don’t mind telling people that I’m vaccinated but I understand that Novak has a different take to me on that issue.”

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has reiterated the stipulation of full vaccination for participants, as well as outlining the process for attaining a medical exemption.

In either case, a player’s status is not made public, with the decision to reveal it up to each individual competitor, a point that Philippousis respects.

“I actually have some sympathy for [Djokovic’s] position of not wanting his medical decisions made public but, whether or not he chooses to reveal his vaccination status, he needs to reveal his Australian Open status,” the Aussie continued.

“And if he doesn’t then the tournament organisers should. They can’t make exceptions for him because he is the number one ranked player in the world. The rules are there for everyone.”

“We’ve also reached the point where his (Djokovic’s) preparation for the tournament is surely being compromised.

“Most players like to arrive in Australia two, even three weeks before The Open to acclimatise to the Melbourne summer and courts conditions and really nail their preparation. We’re well inside that timeline now.”

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