Novak Djokovic: ‘I know that I am a thorn in the side of many’

The director of the Australian Open, Craig Tiley, confirmed this Saturday that he will only accept tennis players vaccinated against covid-19 in the tournament next January, which raises doubts about the presence of Novak Djokovic. In an interview with Australian Channel 9, Tiley said that weeks ago the authorities of the state of Victoria, where the tournament is held, announced the mandatory nature of the vaccine and this was communicated to the players. The director of the tournament, which is played in Melbourne between January 17 and 30, 2022, thus put an end to rumors about the possibility that some players could participate without being vaccinated. “Our clients must be vaccinated; all Australian Open workers must be vaccinated,” he added. The current champion of the tournament and current number 1 in the world rankings, Novak Djokovic, is one of the tennis players who have avoided commenting on whether they are vaccinated or not. In February of this year, Australian Open players had to quarantine before playing in the tournament, but in the next edition the vaccine is mandatory. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison himself caused confusion last month by suggesting that tennis players can apply for an exemption from the rule and carry out a quarantine if they are not vaccinated in order to participate in the Australian Open. However, Victoria state authorities later stressed that all players must be vaccinated against covid-19. Australia partially reopened its international borders on November 1, after closing them in March 2020, having reached the vaccination goal of 80 percent of the population. “Our clients must be vaccinated; all Australian Open workers must be vaccinated,” he added.

Djokovic would continue to fight against the system 

Speaking to Serbian media after his win over Cameron Norrie at the ATP Finals on Friday, Novak Djokovic explained why he thinks there is a “monopoly system” in tennis. The Serb feels very few players are able to make a living playing tennis, a situation he hopes to resolve with the help of the Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA). “We are a conformist society, we always prefer to join the herd than to leave it,” Novak Djokovic said, in a statement translated by Twitter user, Oliver. “Instead of saying “this is not right, it is not fair, I will fight for the other person, who is less fortunate than me”, they choose the easier way. I know that I am a thorn in the side of many, I try to break the monopoly system that has been in our sport for many years. We fight for exactly these guys and girls. They put in effort, but they aren’t listened to. The elite wants to rise while these players fight. That’s why this little guy from Serbia is here to intervene and to show them how it should be done.”

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