'Getting vaccinated': Novak Djokovic at centre of bombshell claims
Novak Djokovic's official biographer has made the staggering claim that the tennis star will get the Covid-19 jab after watching Rafa Nadal win the Australian Open in his absence.
Djokovic was deported from the country on the eve of the Australian Open after having his visa cancelled because of his anti-vaccination stance.
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Nadal then went on to win the Melbourne Park grand slam for his 21st career major - moving one ahead of Djokovic and Roger Federer to claim the men's all-time record.
And in a bombshell twist on Wednesday, Djokovic's biographer Daniel Muksch claimed Nadal's triumph has prompted Djokovic to change his vaccination stance.
"Maybe the final in Melbourne also contributed to that," Muksch reported told Serbian TV.
"Rafael Nadal's 21 is driving him, no question. What you hear from his environment, I think he's getting vaccinated."
Djokovic will be severely limited in the events he is allowed to play if he remains unvaccinated.
He is scheduled to play in Dubai at the end of the month, with the tournament one of the few that allows unvaccinated players to participate.
Dubai doesn't have the same strict conditions for entry as Australia, and Djokovic will be able to compete at the tournament he's won five times previously if he produces a negative PCR test result when he arrives.
Djokovic's return to action in February is doubtless going to be one of sport's show-stopping events following all the dramas of the past month.
The 20-time grand slam winner had his entry visa to Australia finally cancelled on the eve of the Australian Open after a week and half of extraordinary drama.
Djokovic told officials he was not vaccinated against Covid-19 and believed he'd been eligible to enter the country and compete after testing positive for coronavirus in December and making a full recovery.
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Meanwhile, Djokovic's chances of defending his Wimbledon crown in July received a huge boost last week after a key rule change in the UK.
It was announced in parliament that all unvaccinated travellers will soon be able to enter England, opening the door for Djokovic to play at Wimbledon.
“Today I can confirm that our international travel regime will now be liberalised as part our efforts to ensure that 2022 is the year in which restrictions on travel, on lockdowns and limits on people’s lives are firmly placed in the past,” UK Transport Secretary said Grant Shapps said.
As it currently stands, Djokovic won't be able to compete at the US Open, however it looks as though he will be able to play the French Open in May.
A new vaccination passport has been introduced in France and applies to athletes entering the country for their respective sports.
However his positive Covid test in December looks likely to allow Djokovic to get a medical exemption to play because it will fall within six months of the French Open.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Serbia's state prosecutors rejected reports that Djokovic used a fake positive test for Covid-19 to enter Australia.
The prosecution office said in a statement that it had received a request for criminal proceedings against unnamed individuals who allegedly forged two PCR certificates, which were later used by Djokovic to apply for a medical exemption from vaccination when entering Australia.
"The prosecution acted according to the regulations, checks were performed, and it was determined that Novak Djokovic was tested several times and that the certificates on the test results from December 16, 2021 and December 22, 2021 are valid," the statement said.
Foreign media, including Der Spiegel and the BBC, had reported discrepancies in the serial numbers of the tests Serbian authorities administered to the top-ranked Djokovic ahead of his trip to Australia, suggesting possible irregularities in the way they were issued.
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