Novak Djokovic set to defend Australian open crown
20-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic will defend his Australian Open crown. The men's world number one tennis player has received a medical exemption from having a COVID-19 vaccination. Notably, all players and staff at the tournament must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel. The Australian Open 2022 begins from January 17.
- As per the COVID-19 rules of the Australian Open, a player has to be fully vaccinated or get a medical exemption to participate in the event.
- However, Djokovic has repeatedly declined to disclose his vaccination status.
- Recently, the Serb had pulled out from the ATP Cup in Sydney, which further increased the uncertainty of his participation.
- However, his participation comes as a good news.
Djokovic, who has not spoken publicly about his vaccination status, said he will play with an exemption permission. "I've spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I'm heading down under with an exemption permission," he said on Instagram on Tuesday. "Let's go 2022. I am ready to live and breathe tennis in the next few weeks of competition."
Djokovic is the most successful player at the Australian Open in the Open Era. Roger Federer is placed at the second spot with six trophies. Djokovic has won the prestigious title a record nine times, including his maiden one in 2008. He is a three-time Australian Open defending champion, having won the tournament in the 2021, 2020, and 2019 editions.
Djokovic went on to win five titles - ATP Masters 1000 Paris, Wimbledon, Roland Garros, Belgrade 2, and Australian Open - in 2021. He finished as the runner-up in the US Open and ATP Masters 1000 Rome, losing against Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal respectively. He had an impressive 55-7 win/loss ratio on the ATP tour in 2021.