MELBOURNE (Reuters) – The Australian Open’s COVID-19 vaccine mission is about protecting the community, not about “blackmailing” Novak Djokovic, a state government official said on Wednesday.
The organizers of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament said all players would have to be vaccinated to participate, drawing criticism from the father of world number one Djokovic.
“Under these conditions and blackmail, (Djokovic) probably won’t compete,” Srdjan Djokovic told Serbian media.
Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula said the vaccine rule applies to all athletes in the southern Australian state, which hosts the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Pakula told Australian media: “If you are a visiting international tennis player or a visiting sportsperson of any kind, it is your responsibility to the community in which you are being treated. welcome,” Pakula told Australian media.
“And that’s why we’re asking those international tennis stars to follow the same requirements as Victorians.
“It’s not about blackmail, it’s about making sure the Victorian community is protected.
“I want to make it clear that I really hope that Novak Djokovic gets vaccinated and plays at the Australian Open.
“But if he doesn’t choose, that’s a problem for him.”
Djokovic has won nine titles at Melbourne Park, including this year’s tournament, and shares the men’s 20 Grand Slam record with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.
He has declined to disclose his vaccination status, saying it is a matter of personal choice.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
https://whbl.com/2021/11/30/tennis-australias-vaccine-mandate-is-not-to-blackmail-djokovic-minister/ Tennis: Australia’s vaccine mission must not ‘blackmail’ Djokovic – Minister