Top-Ranked Novak Djokovic Set to Defend Australian Open Crown After COVID-19 Vaccine Exemption

© REUTERS / CHARLES PLATIAUAustria's Dominic Thiem
Austria's Dominic Thiem - Sputnik International, 1920, 04.01.2022
Unlike his great contemporaries Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Djokovic is a known anti-vaxxer in the tennis world. Besides his well documented skepticism against Coronavirus jabs, Djokovic's vaccination status was shrouded in mystery until Tuesday when the Serbian received a medical exemption from Australian Open authorities.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic is all set to defend his Australian Open crown in Melbourne in two weeks' time, as the organisers of the first Grand Slam of the year have given him a medical exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination, the tennis superstar revealed on Instagram.
The 34-year-old Djokovic's announcement ended months of mystery surrounding his participation in the major competition as he had refused to reveal his vaccination status despite repeated requests from the media and people associated with tennis.
By confirming his presence in the prestigious tournament, Djokovic, who has already won the event on nine different occasions in the past, would now have the opportunity to create history in Australia.

If he succeeds in defending his title at Melbourne Park, Djokovic would become the second man in tennis history to win a Grand Slam title at least 10 times.
Rafael Nadal previously captured the Roland Garros trophy 13 times.
Moreover, Djokovic will leapfrog both Roger Federer and Nadal in the Grand Slam count. The three currently share 20 Slams each.
Earlier, Djokovic was warned of the consequences of his anti- vaccine stance.
According to his former coach Ricardo Piatti, Djokovic's refusal to take the jab could cost him dearly as he could miss out on multiple Grand Slams in 2022, including Wimbledon and the US Open.
"Djokovic may only play at Roland Garros because you have to be vaccinated to enter the United Kingdom (UK) and also outside Europe," Piatti, who coached the tennis superstar from 2005 to 2006, told journalists at the ongoing ATP Cup in Sydney, a warm-up event for the Australian Open.
The Australian Open begins in Melbourne on 17 January.
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