The Australian Open 2022 will be the first international tournament open only to those vaccinated against Coronavirus. Since the start of the pandemic, Australia has decided to adopt a different strategy than most other countries and has repeatedly instituted the lockdown to stop small outbreaks in the bud and target the zero contagion “tactic”. Melbourne, in particular, has seen a significant increase in cases in recent months and the Victorian government has imposed vaccination obligations on millions of workers, including professional athletes. Taking into account all these indications, there are still many doubts related to the participation of Novak Djokovic, who nevertheless is registered in both the ATP Cup and the Australian Open. The Serbian champion has decided not to release his personal information and no one can know for sure what his choice was. The new season will begin on January 1 and only during the first week of 2022 will everyone know the fate of Djokovic. A first important defection concerns the doubles tournament. Pierre-Hugues Herbert will not arrive in Melbourne precisely because of the vaccination obligation. The French tennis player had already discussed the matter during the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy and explained: “I am not vaccinated, so the trip to Australia would not be possible. So I do what I can. Given my singles rankings, it might be a better option to play smaller tournaments in Europe. My ranking is low, I am number 110 to date.”
Murray reflects on Djokovic
Former World No.1 Andy Murray hopes Novak Djokovic will play at the 2022 Australian Open. Since Djokovic’s name is there in the participants’ list of the upcoming Major, Murray is “assuming” that the Serbian legend is fully vaccinated and will have no obstacles in playing at the Grand Slam in January next year. “I don’t know what the situation is with Novak. The latest I saw was that he was on the entry list, and I assume he’s playing and has been vaccinated. We were told they were the rules – if you want to play, you have to be vaccinated – so I’m assuming that’s what’s happened,” said Murray in the interview. “Ultimately, you want all of the best players to be playing in the biggest events. It’s what makes the events more interesting and he’s also going to try to win and break the record, winning a 21st Slam. His record there is phenomenal, so hopefully he’ll be there,” added the 3-time Grand Slam champion.