'Won't get a visa': Premier's huge call amid Novak Djokovic drama

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·Sports Reporter
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Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, left, says unvaccinated athletes like won't be allowed into Australia, placing interest in Novak Djokovic's vaccination status.
Victorian premier Daniel Andrews says unvaccinated athletes will be unlikely to get a visa to enter the country, placing Novak Djokovic's Australian Open defence in doubt. Pictures: Getty Images

Victorian state premier Daniel Andrews has indicated unvaccinated tennis players are unlikely to be given any special dispensation to play in the Australian Open next year.

Andrews said unvaccinated players would be unlikely to receive a visa to enter Australia and, if they were, they would be likely to have to complete the full two weeks of quarantine.

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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.

Though the state is able to set its own requirements for vaccines, Andrews believes the issue of whether unvaccinated players will even be allowed into the country ultimately would rest with the federal government.

His statement comes after men's world No.1 Novak Djokovic once again declined to say whether he had been vaccinated or not, bristling at the question.

Andrews also indicated the vaccine requirements would not be limited just to international tennis stars.

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

"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."

Vaccine requirements throw Djokovic's Aus Open defence in doubt

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

The 34-year-old last competed at the US Open, where his bid to complete the calendar slam - winning all four majors in the same year - was ended by Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final.

Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on a record 20 grand slam titles, said he plans to compete in the Paris Masters, the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin and the Davis Cup before the end of 2021.

"Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament," he said

"I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.

"I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open and I understand the final decision (on COVID-19 related restrictions) will be made in two weeks.

"I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.

"My manager, who is in contact with the Australian tennis federation, tells me they are trying to improve the conditions for everyone, both for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not."

Novak Djokovic may be unable to defend his Australian Open crown if he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Novak Djokovic has refused to reveal his vaccination status, placing his Australian Open title defence in doubt. (Photo by KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine-times and would be heavy favourite to take his tally into double digits.

The added incentive to overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the grand slam title race will also be on Djokovic's mind.

Federer has fallen out of the top 10 in the world rankings for the first time in nearly five years, with consistent injury troubles taking their toll.

The Swiss ace fell two places to World No.11 in the latest ATP rankings released on Monday.

A change to the ranking structure during the Covid-19 pandemic had previously kept his position elevated despite his injury-hampered form.

With agencies

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