'No withdrawals': Tennis Australia rejects Novak Djokovic claim

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·Sports Editor
·3-min read
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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player
  • Craig Tiley
    South African tennis player
Craig Tiley, pictured here speaking to the media in Melbourne.
Craig Tiley is hopeful that Novak Djokovic will play the Australian Open. Image: Getty

UPDATE: Novak Djokovic has officially announced his withdrawal since time of publishing.

Tennis Australia has dismissed reports that Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the ATP Cup in Sydney, insisting the World No.1 is still entered to play the season-opening event starting Saturday.

Serbian publication Blic reported last week that Djokovic won't travel to Sydney to play the teams event, throwing his participation at the Australian Open into further doubt.

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The publication quoted a source close to Djokovic's team, who reportedly said: "It is 99 per cent sure that Novak won't go to the ATP Cup".

However Tennis Australia rejected those reports on Tuesday, saying they hadn't received word of any withdrawals.

"No withdrawals from Team Serbia," a Tennis Australia spokesperson told The Age.

Djokovic has been named in Serbia's team for the ATP Cup, which will take place from January 1-9 ahead of the Australian Open on January 17.

But according to The Age, Tennis Australia couldn't confirm when Djokovic would arrive in Sydney.

The 34-year-old has yet to commit to the Australian Open following the Covid-19 vaccination mandate agreed by Tennis Australia and the Victorian Department of Health.

Djokovic has repeatedly declined to disclose whether or not he is vaccinated, citing privacy concerns.

Australian Open boss hopeful Djokovic will play

Speaking last week, Australian Open boss Craig Tiley said he was still uncertain whether Djokovic would be playing at the Melbourne Park major.

Tiley said all players and staff at the Australian Open would be vaccinated or have a medical exemption granted by an independent panel of experts.

Those requirements have prevented Djokovic from confirming whether he will bid for a men's record 21st grand slam title and a 10th Australian Open crown.

"Everyone who is coming in is vaccinated and there will be a small percentage - a very small percentage - that will have a medical exemption," Tiley said.

"So if any player, fan (or) workforce is on site here, you're either vaccinated or you have a medical exemption that's approved and you're on the Australian Immunisation Register.

"That provides us with safety and an extra level of comfort on site."

Craig Tiley, pictured here with Novak Djokovic after the 2021 Australian Open final.
Craig Tiley with Novak Djokovic after the 2021 Australian Open final. (Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

Tiley said he spoke to Djokovic recently, but because of privacy protocols he doesn't know if the Serb had requested a medical exemption.

Djokovic's father Srdjan recently appeared to confirm suspicions that Djokovic is not vaccinated.

“They have to decide whether they will let Novak in,” Srdjan said.

“If they decide (not to let him play), they have to stand behind their decision. 

"He has won the Australian Open nine times, he now wants to play, but they they have to permit him to play.

“Novak will do what he thinks is the best for him, nobody will impose an opinion on him.”

Srdjan said his son would have no issues missing the Australian Open and “we will wait for Roland Garros and his (21st) Grand Slam title”.

with AAP

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