Novak Djokovic is likely to pass up the chance to defend his Australian Open title over the Grand Slam event’s strict Covid-19 vaccination rules, says his father.
The men’s tennis world No1, who has won the Australian Open a record nine times, has repeatedly defended his right to keep his vaccination status private.
“Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won’t [play],” Srdjan Djokovic told Serbian media, according to the BBC. “I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself.
“As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not. No-one has the right to enter into our intimacy.”
Australian Open organisers confirmed last week that all players would have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 if they wished to participate.
“Novak knows he will have to be vaccinated to play,” tournament director Craig Tiley said. “We would love to have him here.”
If Djokovic, 34, skips the Australian Open it would deny him a chance to go clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the list of Grand Slam champions. All three men currently have 20 major titles.
The Australian Open is due to take place in Melbourne on 17-30 January.