Novak Djokovic 'won't win Australian Open' says Bowers
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Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open hopes for 2022 remain in the balance. Though the Serb was given the green light to play by a judge on Monday, the government was investigating whether he lied on his travel forms. The Serb is in the spotlight amid his refusal to take a coronavirus vaccine, despite having roughly 18 months to have done so.
Djokovic was forced to quarantine after arriving in Australia, having previously been given a medical exemption.
But while a judge ruled he was free to compete on Monday, the 34-year-old could still be denied the chance to take to the Rod Laver Arena.
That would be a hammer blow to Djokovic, who is hoping to win a record 21st Grand Slam of his career Down Under.
And his previous comments on the vaccine certainly make for interesting reading at a time where the world No 1 finds himself in the spotlight.
Djokovic has long been coy on the subject but, when quizzed, is willing to open up every now and then.
Speaking in October, the Serb said: “I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not.
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“It is a private matter… that is an immoderate question.
“Too many people today allow themselves such freedom to ask things and condemn a person.
“Whatever you answer – ‘Yes, I didn’t, maybe, I don’t know, I’m thinking!’ – they will abuse it.
“The media has become… I have no word how to describe it.
“It spreads fear and panic among people and I don’t want to participate in that rift. I feel that everyone is hostile.
“I don’t want to give them a reason to write some things about me.”
In 2020, Djokovic insisted he was an advocate of ‘freedom of choice’ when it comes to getting jabbed.
“I’m not an expert, of course, and I’m not going to talk about what are the pros and cons of getting vaccinated,” Djokovic told CNN in August.
“But I am a proponent of freedom of choice.”
He added: “I really believe that it should be left to a player to make a decision.
“We don’t know what the future holds. I don’t think any industry is really certain what the future brings.
“We are going to make sure that we gather as much expert information on this (as possible) and work with players and provide whatever information is needed for them to make a conscious choice.”
Also nearly two years ago, Djokovic sparked outrage when he said he was ‘opposed to vaccination’.
“Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said.
“But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.
“I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.”
Djokovic then released a statement to clarify his position.
“I am no expert, but I do want to have an option to choose what’s best for my body,” Djokovic said.
“I am keeping an open mind, and I’ll continue to research on this topic because it is important and it will affect all of us.
“To be honest, just like the rest of the world I am a bit confused. Despite having access to information and resources, I am left in doubt about what could be the best thing to do.”
Fast-forward to now, and it’s clear Djokovic hasn’t shifted his views.
And whether that means he won’t be able to compete at the Australian Open, with the government investigating whether he lied on his travel forms, remains to be seen.
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