Twist in Novak Djokovic saga as world No.1 reveals he fears being locked in 14-day quarantine if someone on his plane to the Australian Open has Covid – as he faces being banned from the tournament if he’s not vaccinated
Djokovic, 34, is said to be vaccine hesitant after previous outspoken comments about the disease although he has never revealed his vaccination status.
But the world number one says he can’t face spending 14 days in hotel quarantine just because someone else on his aircraft might potentially test Covid-positive.
‘The main problem is that if you’re on a plane with a person who is positive, whether they’re vaccinated or not, you automatically stay in your room for 14 days,’ he said.
‘That happened to Viktor Troicki in January. Not only him but 70 players had to be in quarantine. I’ve talked to a lot of players and that’s a bad memory for everyone.
Tennis champ Novak Djokovic (pictured her with wife Jelena) insists the fear of getting caught on a Covid-infected plane is the prime reason he’s not yet committing to the Australian Open
‘So I don’t know if I’ll go to Australia. I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation isn’t good at all.’
The nine-time Australian Open champion has been caught at the centre of a political vaccination storm over the tournament.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has insisted all players are welcome, with unvaccinated players facing 14 days hotel quarantine.
But Victorian premier Dan Andrews has vowed to block unjabbed players from the state, and will not sign off exemptions required to let them in for the tournament.
Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic has been caught at the centre of a vaccination storm over the Melbourne-based tournament at Rod Laver arena (pictured)
Djokovic, the president of the newly formed The Professional Tennis Players Association, says many players fear being forced into quarantine through no fault of their own.
‘It wasn’t a good experience for us (in 2020). For example, it was quite hard for Viktor Troicki,’ he told Serbian daily newspaper Blic.
‘Some of us had the quarantine in which we could train. But if a person can’t train, to put a professional athlete in quarantine where he can’t leave the room and then expect him to play at a certain level, truly.
‘Not to mention the increased risk of injury, of which there were many, including me, at this year’s Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic, 34, (pictured) is said to be vaccine hesitant after previous outspoken comments about the disease although he has never revealed his vaccination status
The world number one says he can’t face spending 14 days in hotel quarantine just because someone else on his aircraft might potentially test Covid-positive. (Pictured, a Jetstar aircraft)
‘If those conditions remain, I think many players will really think about whether they’ll go or not.
‘But, in the end, the financial or economic aspect is the determining factor of many players.’
Australian super-coach Darren Cahill says he empathises with Tennis Australia as the Open vaccination saga rages between political leaders.
‘I feel sorry for Australia and Craig Tiley’s team, to be honest,’ Cahill told SEN radio on Thursday.
Victorian premier Dan Andrews has vowed to block unjabbed players from the state, and will not sign off exemptions required to let them in for the tournament, seen here in 2018
‘Clearly, they’ve gone to the federal government and got some instructions that they would be allowing unvaccinated players into the country.
‘Albeit they’d have to go through a couple of weeks of quarantine, wouldn’t be able to go to restaurants in Victoria or go shopping – some pretty tough restrictions.
‘And then Dan comes out and clearly says that no one other than vaccinated people will be allowed to be playing at the Australian Open.
‘So at least we have some clarity at the moment but Tennis Australia has kind of been the meat sandwich, which has been a tough position for them because they’ve been trying to inform the ATP and the WTA and let everybody know where they are.
‘And at least now that you go back and say, “Listen, you better get that jab otherwise you won’t be playing”.’