World number one Novak Djokovic has been entered into the Australian Open despite declining to disclose his vaccination status, while seven-time winner Serena Williams is out as she continues her injury recovery.
Djokovic, who was also on the entry list for the ATP Cup in Sydney when that was released on Tuesday, has declined to disclose his vaccination status, despite everyone at Melbourne Park needing to be inoculated against COVID-19.
Williams, 40, said she was not fit to compete at 2022’s first Grand Slam. “While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete, I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.” she said.
Tournament organiser Craig Tiley said last month that the 40-year-old American, who needs one more Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court’s record of 24, would be playing at Melbourne Park from January 17 to January 30.
After Williams’ semi-final loss to Naomi Osaka at this year’s Australian Open, Williams paused for a moment and put her hand on her heart as she left Rod Laver Arena to a standing ovation, later tearfully cutting short a news conference.
Her name was the most obvious omission from the field with 20-times Grand Slam champion Roger Federer having already confirmed that he would skip the event as he recovers from another round of knee surgeries
Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is absent while he continues his rehabilitation from knee surgery, with 2014 winner Stanislas Wawrinka also missing with injury.
Djokovic, who will be bidding for a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title if he plays at the tournament, said last week that he would be making a decision “very soon” about travelling to Australia.
Djokovic has been named in Serbia’s team for the ATP Cup ,which takes place in Sydney from 1 to 9 January.
To play in Sydney without being vaccinated, the New South Wales state government would have to apply for an exemption for him. Djokovic would then have to do 14 days of quarantine on arrival.