'Counting down': Tennis fans erupt over Novak Djokovic news

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here in action against Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.
Novak Djokovic in action against Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

His status for the Australian Open might be up in the air, but Novak Djokovic has delighted fans after announcing he will return to the court this year at the Paris Masters.

The World No.1 hasn't played since losing in the final of the US Open in August, seeing his quest to complete a calendar year grand slam extinguished.

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He subsequently withdrew from Indian Wells and had fans speculating that he might sit out the rest of the year.

However fans were overjoyed to learn on Tuesday that Djokovic will be back in action at the Paris Masters and plans to play the year-end ATP Masters and Davis Cup as well.

Djokovic stunned fans last month with his withdrawal from Indian Wells, one of the most prestigious events on the ATP and WTA calendars.

Earlier this year he flagged his intentions to alter his busy schedule in order to spend more time with his young family.

"At times it rips my heart apart," Djokovic said about being away from his family after winning the Australian Open in February.

"I will have to revise my schedule comparing to the last year or any other season before this. Obviously time away from family definitely is something that has an impact on me.

"I'll have to see with these rules and regulations and restrictions in place all over the world, Europe.

"Not being able to take my family on the road is something that is a big problem for me."

Novak Djokovic a huge doubt for Australian Open

With Djokovic refusing to reveal whether or not he has received the Covid-19 vaccine, his status for January's Australian Open is in serious doubt.

On Tuesday, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said unvaccinated tennis players are unlikely to be allowed at the Australian Open.

Victoria has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes, although authorities have not yet clarified what the requirement will be ahead of next year's grand slam in Melbourne.

But Andrews believes the issue will be taken out of the state government's hands.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here with wife Jelena at the Adria Tour charity exhibition in 2020.
Novak Djokovic with wife Jelena at the Adria Tour charity exhibition in 2020. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images)

"I don't think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country," he told reporters.

"If they did get a visa, they'd probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks when no other players will have to.

"AFL players have to be vaccinated, but they're Aussies, they're not coming from other countries.

"I don't think any other tennis player, or golfer, or Formula One driver, will even get a visa to get here. Professional sport is part of that authorised worker list and they have to be double dose vaccinated."

It comes after world No.1 Djokovic was asked on Monday about his chances of defending his crown at Melbourne Park in January.

"Things being as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne," Djokovic told the online edition of Serbian daily Blic.

"I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

"People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person.

"Whatever you say 'yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it', they will take advantage."

Djokovic has won the season's opening grand slam a record nine times, including the past three editions.

with AAP

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