Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the ATP Cup in Sydney amid concerns over his immunization status and if he would be capable of defending his Australian Open title next month.
The Serbian champion’s participation in both events has been the subject of much discussion. The 34-year-old, who has previously refused to declare if he has been immunized against COVID-19, reaffirmed his stance on vaccine choice last month.
All participants in the Australian Open, which commences on January 17, must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or have a medical certificate approved by an independent panel of specialists, according to Tennis Australia.
Organizers on Saturday has been quoted to have said
Novak Djokovic boasts of a record nine Australian Open trophies, including the previous three, and is matched with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most major titles with 20.
Last month, his father, Srdjan, told a Serbian tv network that Djokovic would most presumably pull back from the tournament, asserting that Tennis Australia’s stance on mandatory vaccination was exactly equivalent to blackmail.
Austria was succeeded by France in the season-opening competition after failing to meet the requirements due to the withdrawal of both Dominic Thiem and Dennis Novak.
Last year’s champions, Russia, will participate without Andrey Rublev and Aslan Karatsev. Alternatively, Evgeny Karlovskiy is set to join the team.