Serbian player unsure of Djokovic’s Australian Open plans

Serbian tennis player Dusan Lajovic says he’s not sure Novak Djokovic will play the Australian Open and that he and other teammates don’t know the reason Djokovic withdrew from the ATP Cup .

Djokovic is reportedly looking for a men’s record for the 21st Grand Slam title and a 10th Australian Open crown at Melbourne Park from January 17.

Djokovic, 34, is on the entry list but has yet to commit to the Australian Open following the COVID-19 vaccination mandate agreed to by Tennis Australia and the Victoria Department of Health (State ).

Djokovic has repeatedly refused to disclose whether or not he was vaccinated, citing confidentiality concerns. All Australian Open spectators, staff and players must be double vaccinated or have medical exemption.

Lajovic, the late call to replace Djokovic, said he and his team were unsure whether the No.1-ranked player would participate in Melbourne.

“He kept in touch with all of us and it was a last minute decision, the Australian Open is still uncertain, I don’t know the information,” Lajovic said Thursday. “I think that will come in the next few days or at every deadline. We don’t know at the moment, but I hope he will be there and he can play the Grand Slam.

Lajovic said Djokovic did not disclose the reasons Serbia failed to defend the ATP Cup.

“He said I won’t come to the ATP Cup, we’ll see for the Australian Open,” Lajovic said. “He didn’t say whether he was coming or not, (but) he’s waiting for a decision.”

Roger Federer has already confirmed he will not play in Melbourne due to continued recovery from right knee surgery. Rafael Nadal, who along with Federer and Djokovic has 20 Grand Slam singles titles, is recovering from COVID-19 and has said he still hopes to play at the Australian Open.

The 16-team ATP Cup kicks off on Saturday at two stadiums in Sydney.

ATP Cup organizers disclosed Djokovic’s withdrawal in a roster update that included France replacing Austria in the event following the withdrawals of Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak.

Fifth-placed Russian Andrey Rublev also retired, as did his team-mates Aslan Karatsev and Evgeny Donskoy.

Serbia face Norway on Saturday. Chile also play against Spain, Argentina against Georgia and Greece against Poland.

The other eight teams will start playing on Sunday: Russia against France, Italy against Australia, Canada against the United States and Germany against Great Britain.


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