Novak Djokovic's former coach Boris Becker believes the world number one will eventually “follow the rules” and receive a coronavirus vaccine so that he can compete at the Australian Open - if he has not already had one.
Djokovic has repeatedly refused to confirm whether he has had the jab, which is a mandatory requirement for the first Grand Slam of the year. Tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed at the weekend that anyone who wants to be on site at Melbourne Park in January will need to be fully vaccinated - with no exceptions.
Australia has been one of the world’s strictest countries on Covid restrictions, and its states all have different rules. Currently, Victoria - where Melbourne is - allows quarantine-free entry for visitors from overseas, but only if they have had both doses.
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Djokovic is one Grand Slam title short of reaching an outright record of 21 victories and Becker believes he will play by the rules.
"I can't imagine that he won't play in Australia,” the three-time Wimbledon champion told Eurosport Germany’s podcast, Das Gelbe vom Ball.
"He loves the sport too much for that, he loves tennis history too much for that. He wants to reach the 21 Grand Slam wins. Australia is his best Grand Slam. He has already won nine times there. Why shouldn't he win a 10th time?
"He says it is his personal decision whether to get vaccinated or not. It is nobody's business. I'm with him on that.
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But if he wants to play on the tennis tour - and we're also having this discussion about [Bayern Munich footballer] Joshua Kimmich - then you just have to follow the rules. That means you have to be vaccinated in order to play.
"That applies to Djokovic, that applies to Kimmich and that applies to every athlete who is at home in their respective sport."
Djokovic is currently preparing for Serbia’s campaign at the Davis Cup, where he will inevitably be asked more questions about his vaccination status. But if he has not yet had a jab, it is believed he is running out of time to have one, in order to satisfy the criteria set out by the state of Victoria.
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