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WilliamM
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3 hours ago, WilliamM said:

The Australian Open will require all players to be vaccined The open is in January 2022.

Will Novak play?

I kept hearing different reports, but apparently now it's official:  all players must be vaccinated.  Novak is very guarded about the matter, insisting that one's vaxx status is a private matter.  Early on in Novak's career, a reporter asked him what he was going to splurge on now that he had a few big tournaments.  Instead of responding to the fun, light-hearted question in the spirit it was asked, Novak ripped the poor guy's head off, screamed that the question was inappropriate, and how he spends his money is a private matter ... yikes!  Chillax, dude.

I don't know if it's a difference in Serbian culture or a Novak peculiarity, but he obviously has a very strict code regarding privacy.  Whether his rather extreme (imo) take on privacy will outweigh his desire to win a 21st Slam at his most successful venue, I couldn't tell you.  I can tell you that as I die-hard Novak fan, I will be bullshit if he boycotts the 2022 AO.

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Well, there are 3 other slams he can play in 2022 to hit the 21st title, and Roger won't be competing at all. Of course, there is the possibility that Rafa will be in shape to contest at Roland Garros, so the tennis commentators will be praying for a final between the two of them there to see which one gets to 21 first.

Since he has already had COVID, he probably doesn't want to get caught in the [mostly political] argument between those who believe naturally acquired  immunity is enough and those who believe in vaccination regardless of previous exposure (he hasn't said which position he takes). I'll bet he has political ambitions in Serbia after he retires, so I wouldn't be surprised if he found some other reason to simply not go to Melbourne.

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The issue had been discussed for some time. The federal government had said they would consider allowing unvaccinated players entry to the country, but that the Victorian state government would have to request an exemption. The Victorian Premier basically said, nothing to do with us, international borders are entirely up to the feds.

At the time the Premier had said that he couldn't in good conscience tell Australians they couldn't attend the AO without being fully vaccinated but ask for players to be able to be there without confirming their vaccination status. Regardless of the merits of vaccine mandates, it's pretty clear that mandates will still apply in Melbourne until at least the end of January. If players had been allowed in, there would have been virtually nothing they would be able to do outside the tournament itself without proof of vaccination.

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News reports that I saw in Australia on Saturday November 20, some were about the rejigging of the Melbourne Tennis Centre, new updated courts and the addiction of a beach area where fans could watch the games on big screens, mention was made of the policy that all participants needed to be double vaccinated.  

 

Comment was made that it was not certain if Djokovic if attend, as up until now he had stated that his vaccination status was private.    He would need to prove that he was double vaccinated to play.

 

(the privacy claim seems to be double speak for no I have not had the jab)

 

While I personally am cautious about big phama and am concerned about the vaccines, I have been double vaccinated as I was required by my employer to continue working. Having said that it seems that the vaccination does work for the vast majority, although I do know of a few people who have had medical concerns, from passing out to having seizures 

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4 hours ago, WilliamM said:

When the participants in the tennis tournament Novak organized, he and some of family members were defiant in defense of the non existent covid19 rules.

Many more people have died of covid19 since that tournament.

What's wrong with Novak Djokovic?

At the time of the Adria exhibition tour, the infection rate was very low in Serbia, which is probably why Novak didn't take Covid as seriously as he should have.  By the way, I've read that one of the infected players, Grigor Dimitrov, has not fully recovered even though it's been ~1.5 years since he got Covid.

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22 minutes ago, BSR said:

At the time of the Adria exhibition tour, the infection rate was very low in Serbia, which is probably why Novak didn't take Covid as seriously as he should have.  By the way, I've read that one of the infected players, Grigor Dimitrov, has not fully recovered even though it's been ~1.5 years since he got Covid.

I remember they were also playing basketball and going to clubs together. I feel very sorry for Grigor Dimitrov who was pretty much innocent.

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33 minutes ago, WilliamM said:

I remember they were also playing basketball and going to clubs together. I feel very sorry for Grigor Dimitrov who was pretty much innocent.

Grigor is probably Novak's best non-Serbian friend on tour.  I don't know what exactly is wrong with Grigor except that a few folks over on Men's Tennis Forum say that he's still suffering long-term effects from Covid.  I know his results have been pretty mediocre since that Adria Tour, but then again, Grigor's had ups & downs his whole career.

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14 hours ago, BSR said:

Grigor is probably Novak's best non-Serbian friend on tour.  I don't know what exactly is wrong with Grigor except that a few folks over on Men's Tennis Forum say that he's still suffering long-term effects from Covid.  I know his results have been pretty mediocre since that Adria Tour, but then again, Grigor's had ups & downs his whole career.

Most tennis players have ups and downs. Gregor is no exception. I have followed his tennis career as well. If Gregor Dimitrov has said he is still has covid19 problems it is more important information. After all, Novak has new information too about the ao "we'll see." 

Sad

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3 hours ago, BSR said:

According to his father, Novak will most likely skip the Australian Open.  I've never liked Novak's dad, seems like a bit of a nutjob.  I never quite know what to make of the dad's public statements, but there you have it.

His dad seems to only recognize Russia and China as experts in treatment of covid19. Perhaps have the  most slam wins isn't important to Novak Djokovic, or winning four slams in a single year.

If so, It is totally understandable.

Good for Novak.

Edited by WilliamM
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  • 2 weeks later...

According to the ATP website, Novak is on the entry list for both the ATP Cup and the Australian Open.  I keep reading conflicting reports on whether unvaccinated players (~35% of the men are unvaxxed) will be allowed to play, or even to enter the country.  The Victoria premier said that unvaxxed players would be barred from entry, yet the WTA said that unvaxxed players would be allowed to play but with a 14-day hard quarantine (i.e., the player is not allowed to leave their hotel room, which means no practice and very limited training) and regular testing.  Honestly, I can't be sure what's going on.

Rafa and Dominic Thiem are also on the AO entry list.  Notable absences are Roger, who announced a while ago that he would not be ready for Australia, and Stan Wawrinka, who's been out for so long I forgot what his injury was.  On the women's side, the most notable absence is Serena.  Uh oh, hamstring injuries are notoriously slow to heal, and it looks like hers was a rough one.  Either that, or she's about to make a retirement announcement.  Also out is the oft-injured Bianca Andreescu. 

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43 minutes ago, WilliamM said:

The entry list to the Australia Open is just that an entry list. Certainly doesn't mean Novak can play in Melbourne (he may decide to get vaccinated so he can play.)

Correct, a player's name on the entry list is simply a placeholder.  The player can withdraw at any time before his first match, without fine or penalty.  But a last-minute withdrawal is kind of a sh*tty thing to do, and given Novak's longstanding relationship with Tennis Australia in general and Craig Tiley in particular, I doubt Novak plans on making a big public statement by pulling out last-minute.  I'm guessing that Novak sincerely intends to play.

Novak may already be vaccinated, but like I said in a previous post, he has a rather extreme view of privacy.  He attended a concert in NYC that required proof of vaccination for entry.  Maybe he got the shot, maybe a connection sneaked him in against the rules, who knows?

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On 12/8/2021 at 8:49 PM, WilliamM said:

The entry list to the Australia Open is just that an entry list. Certainly doesn't mean Novak can play in Melbourne (he may decide to get vaccinated so he can play.)

A player's name on the entry list means even less than I thought.  I just read over on MTF that all active players with a ranking above the direct entry cutoff get automatically placed on the Australian Open entry list.  Also, I was mistaken about no fine or penalty.  If a player withdraws less than 42 days before the start date, he gets sanctioned (I didn't bother to read the 90-page PDF to find out what the "sanction" is).  In any case, a player can always get a doctor's certification of injury (big air quotes around "injury") to weasel out of whatever fine or penalty.

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  • 2 weeks later...

An interesting wrinkle in Rafa's comeback from injury: he has tested positive for Covid.  No word on how he's feeling, but given his age, fitness, and 2 vaccine shots, I'm guessing that physically he's fine.  He has enough time before the start of the AO (Jan 17) to shed the virus and test negative, but his participation in the warm-up tournament (Melbourne, Jan 4) he planned on playing might be in jeopardy.  On the podcast I'm listening to, they said that once a player tests positive, first he has to test negative then wait 7 days before he can board a plane for Australia. 

If he can't play Melbourne, his only other tune-up option is Sydney, but that's the week right before the AO, and top players almost never play the week before a Slam.  Another option is going into the AO with no competitive match play (Novak often has before both the AO and Wimbledon yet has gone on to win the tournament).  No warmup is far from ideal, however, for a player who's been out with injury for 6 months.

No word yet on whether Novak is vaccinated, but we'll find out soon because he's entered in the ATP Cup, which starts Jan 1.  Dominic Thiem caught a cold while in Dubai (tested negative for Covid) and has withdrawn from both the ATP Cup and Sydney.  His participation in the AO is a wait & see.

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From the horse's mouth:  Rafa says he's experiencing only mild symptoms.  He doesn't worry about the Covid itself, more how long it will take to recover and how long he is unable to train and practice.  Even if he recovers in time to make it to Australia, he will have missed precious preparation time before a Slam and after a 6-month layoff.  That would be tough for any player, even more so for a 35-year-old.

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Uh oh, the likelihood that Novak will the Australian Open just dropped like a rock.  While he has not officially withdrawn from the ATP Cup, a member of his team leaked, "It is 99 percent sure that Novak won't go to the ATP Cup. He is training here (in Belgrade) but he has decided to give that tournament a miss."  If Novak skips the ATP Cup, then he's not playing the AO either.

Roger is definitely out, Rafa is a maybe, Novak is looking far less likely.  If none of the Big 3 plays the Australian, then that is the end of an era, or at least the beginning of the end.  Until recently, the Big 3 not only played every Slam but won almost all of them as well.

I don't know if Roger ever makes it back.  Rafa should be back on tour, just maybe not in time for the AO.  Novak has no physical issues, but who knows if the other 3 Slams will impose vaccine mandates in the future.  Given their ages (Roger 40, Rafa 35, Novak 34), the Big 3 Era had to end at some point, but I still hate to see it.

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1 hour ago, WilliamM said:

Several sources are reporting that Novak Djokovic will skip the Australian Open.

I'm reading conflicting reports from Serbian news sources.  Because the Serbian press has whipped itself into a frenzy over this issue, they're reporting every single rumor they come across.  One of the Serbian sports papers even cited Emilio Sanchez as a "source."  WTF?!  Since when is Emilio Sanchez the definitive authority on Novak Djokovic??  According to the guys over on Men's Tennis Forum, of the 3 big Serbian sports newspapers, 2 are saying Novak is skipping the 2022 AO, 1 says he is playing.  None of the 3 is getting their news from the horse's mouth.

I'll wait to hear what Novak has to say.  Apparently he has no chance of getting a medical exemption.  If he has not gotten the jab yet, it's already too late because a player needs to get the 2nd shot at least 2 weeks before arriving in Australia.

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19 minutes ago, WilliamM said:

If Novak Djokovic has no chance to get a medical exemption and likely hasn't been vaccinated, what are his options?

None, really.  If Novak isn't already vaccinated, then he will have to skip this year's AO.  Novak's only chance of playing is if he is already vaxxed and is just being super-secretive about it (remember how weird he is about privacy).

What's odd is that all 3 Serbian sports papers report that he is in Belgrade and is practicing hard -- something they've seen for themselves, not just some crazy rumor they heard.  If he knew he was skipping Australia, then he'd be on the ski slopes, not the practice court.

Edited by BSR
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