Novak Djokovic's family admission in ugly Australian Open furore

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here in action for Serbia at the Davis Cup.
Novak Djokovic says he will spend some time with his family before deciding on the Australian Open. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic remained coy on his participation for the upcoming Australian Open on Friday, saying he needs to spend some time with his family before making a decision.

The World No.1 has repeatedly declined to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against Covid-19, with father Srdjan telling Serbia's Prva television last week his son would probably pull out of the tournament.

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Addressing the situation after Serbia's loss to Croatia in the Davis Cup semi-finals on Friday, Djokovic once again failed to commit to the year's opening grand slam event.

"I know what you want to ask but I am not going to give you an answer tonight," the 34-year-old told a virtual news conference after a question about when he might be expected on court again.

"Obviously, Australia is just around the corner so you'll know very soon.

"I will use the next days to recover and forget about tennis. I am really tired from this season and this whole year.

"I need some family time now and we'll see what the future holds."

Organisers of the Australian Open have said all players must be vaccinated to take part, which Srdjan Djokovic described as 'blackmail'.

However Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula dismissed the criticism.

Should Djokovic miss the January 17-30 event he has won a record nine times, he will pass up an opportunity to top the men's all-time list of major winners as he is tied on 20 grand slams each with Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.

Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic, pictured here congratulating Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic after the Davis Cup semi-final.
Novak Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic congratulate Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic after the Davis Cup semi-final. (Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic holds no regrets despite gruelling year

Despite the gruelling year and narrowly missing the chance to win a second Davis Cup for Serbia, Djokovic said he has "no regrets".

Djokovic and Filip Krajinovic lost 7-5, 6-1 to top-ranked Mate Pavic and Nikola Mektic, the Olympic and Wimbledon champions, in the decisive doubles rubber.

Croatia, the 2005 and 2018 Davis Cup winners, will face either Russia or Germany in Sunday's final.

Djokovic had earlier defeated Marin Cilic for the 18th time to keep Serbia alive.

The World No.1, unbeaten in singles in the tournament since 2011, triumphed 6-4, 6-2 over Cilic for his 19th-successive Davis Cup singles win.

"My season ended tonight and I have no regrets," said Djokovic.

"I'll take advantage of the next few days to rest, recover and forget about tennis."

Defeat for Serbia meant Djokovic closed his 2021 season having agonisingly missed out on the first calendar Grand Slam by a male player in more than half a century when he lost the final of the US Open.

His hopes of a first Olympic singles gold medal were also dashed in Tokyo.

However, he still ended the year tied with Federer and Nadal on 20 majors, claimed the year-ending world No.1 ranking for a record seventh time and will on Monday mark a total of 350 weeks in the top ranking.

Djokovic has also extended his record Masters collection to 37 titles.

"He showed that he was No.1 in the world in singles," said Mektic.

"But luckily we didn't play that sport - we played the sport with four people. We're so happy."

with agencies

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