Woodbridge tips Djokovic to play the Open

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Given the high stakes with tennis history on the line, Todd Woodbridge says he'd be astonished if Novak Djokovic doesn't defend his Australian Open crown in January.

Yet to publicly reveal his vaccination status and with Victorian premier Dan Andrews adamant no unvaccinated players will be granted entry to Melbourne Park, Djokovic's participation remains in doubt.

But with the Serbian superstar level with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 career majors and obsessed with finishing as the men's all-time grand slam title leader, Woodbridge believes there's too much at stake for Djokovic to let such a big opportunity slip.

Just as Nadal is the King of Clay with a mind-boggling 13 French Open crowns among his collection, Djokovic has owned Melbourne Park like no other, amassing a record nine AO titles and winning eight of the past 11 editions.

But if he were to skip the 2022 Open and Nadal reigns again in Paris next June, and possibly in Melbourne too, suddenly a 35-year-old Djokovic would be trailing the Spaniard in the great grand-slam race.

"I think given what's on the line, it would be amazing if he didn't turn up. Yeah, I do think he'll play," Woodbridge told AAP on Thursday.

But if he doesn't show, Woodbridge believes that would be another example of Djokovic being his own man and sticking to the principles and values that have helped him reach No.1.

"It would be his own personal statement in a sense of what he believes in," the doubles great turned commentator said.

"I suppose that's what's given him that point of difference in his career, where he made the decision to make changes to his diet and his fitness and in his health.

"And that's up to him to make those choices.

"But I don't think Australia's going to be the only issue for him moving forward. It's more about how does the rest of the year play out if that were to happen."

Djokovic is increasingly among the small minority of star players yet to commit to the Australian Open, which starts on January 17.

World No.2s Daniil Medvedev and Aryna Sabalenka this week both pledged their participation, after women's titleholder Naomi Osaka took to Instagram to signal her comeback intentions having not played since the US Open in September.

Former champions Nadal and Serena Williams have also declared their hopes to return to Australia in the new year following long-term injuries, while 2020 runner-up Dominic Thiem last week revealed he'd had the jab with a focus on another Open tilt.

Woodbridge said it was no great surprise the world's tennis stars were steadily being vaccinated.

"Within the tennis bubble, we've got to remember they've all been travelling around the world and they sit around and players chat to each other and give each other opinions," he said.

"And like anything, sometimes you start to sort of agree with that and I think even with Sabalenka recently saying she'd had it, that would have changed a lot of people's minds."

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