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No1 Djoko tight-lipped on Oz Open vaccination

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Novak Djokovic reacts during his semi-final match of the ATP Finals against Alexander Zverev at the Pala Alpitour venue in Turin on Saturday. AFP

No1 Djoko tight-lipped on Oz Open vaccination

Novak Djokovic refused to reveal whether he would defend his Australian Open title after the tournament’s chief confirmed on Saturday that only vaccinated players would be able to take part in the first Grand Slam of the season.

The decision, revealed by Craig Tiley, piled more pressure on world No1 Djokovic who has refused to reveal if he has been inoculated.

“We’ll see, we’ll have to wait and see,” Djokovic said to reporters after losing his ATP Finals semi-final against Alexander Zverev.

“I haven’t been talking to them [the tournament organisers], to be honest. I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be, now that I know, we’ll just have to wait and see.”

Melbourne, where January’s Grand Slam is held, has spent more than 260 days under lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic and the government of the state of Victoria made it clear last month there would be no concessions for unvaccinated players.

Tiley said the playing group know they must get the jab to compete in the Australian Open, but that he would “love to see Novak here” and attempt to win a record 21st Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park.

Zverev, who was effusive in his praise of Djokovic after winning an exciting match in Turin 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3, also said that he hoped his friend would be Down Under.

“Look it’s a very tough one because it’s very political,” said Zverev.

“We are visiting another country, this is about the virus that is going around right, this is not about a tournament or tennis, this is we are visiting another country.

“If the country is allowing us to enter we need follow the rules and follow the guidelines. I hope he’s able to play.

“I’m No3 in the world so if he doesn’t play it’s easier to win the tournament but also he’s No1 in the world so he should be able to play. Hopefully the Australian government will make an exemption.”

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