Andy Roddick comments on Novak Djokovic's Australian Open prospects, questions whether the Serb will skip the Major due to vaccine mandate

Novak Djokovic at the 2021 US Open
Novak Djokovic at the 2021 US Open

Andy Roddick recently spoke at length about what could unfold if Novak Djokovic decides to sit out the 2022 Australian Open due to the vaccination mandate in Victoria.

The Victorian government recently passed a health order mandating all athletes, amongst other workers, to get double vaccinated against COVID-19 no later than November 26. The order also stated that athletes must get their first dose by October 15.

That has fuelled speculation over Novak Djokovic's participation in the event, given that the Serb has not revealed his vaccination status. Going by the comments of Daniel Andrews - the Premier of Victoria - the World No. 1 will likely not be allowed to enter Australia if he is unvaccinated.

Djokovic has spoken out against mandatory vaccinations in the past, expressing his desire for players to have freedom of choice.

As such, Andy Roddick questioned whether players like Djokovic would be willing to let go of their ideals in order to take part in the Australian Open.

"There are some people who are like - "I have like these beliefs but I could put those to the side if it means I could play in a tennis tournament," said Roddick while speaking on Tennis Channel.

Roddick further pointed out that players are in a race against time if they want to take part in the Australian Open, given that the first date for vaccination as per the Victorian health order has already passed.

"To me, it seems a little bit awkward but also if we start to look at the timelines it's October 15th you figure, at least three weeks between shots, if you're Pfizer, four weeks between shots, if you're Moderna then two weeks after that you are considered fully vaccinated," Roddick added. "So, players are gonna have to start making that decision now."

The American then went on to talk about Djokovic's stance on mandatory COVID-19 vaccines and how it could impact his participation at the first Major of the year. Roddick wondered if the Serb could be forced to skip the Australian Open.

According to the former World No. 1, Djokovic could face the prospect of entering next year's Wimbledon stuck on 20 Majors, given that a fully fit Rafael Nadal will lie in wait for him at Roland Garros.

"Also if we project forwards, obviously Novak has been pretty outspoken against it but just from a tennis perspective what does this do? Does he decide not to play Australia, then all of a sudden he's looking at the French Open," added Roddick.
"Will we have Rafa healthy there? Is he still on 20 as we're going into Wimbledon next year? Nobody would have thought that before the US Open final, so there are certainly some things in play."
⚠️ A vaccine mandate is probable for the 2022 Australian Open. ⚠️Here's what that could mean for tennis in Melbourne.#TCLive | #BNPPO21 | @vrbo | @andyroddick

Roddick stressed that there is no chance Australia would be willing to give leeway to tennis players, considering the strict rules the government has imposed on its citizens during the pandemic.

"But to think that Australia after a year and a half of being so disciplined and so air-tight with what they are telling their citizens to do regarding the coronavirus, there is zero chance they can say 'Oh yeah tennis players can come and do whatever they want'," continued the American. "That's not responsible, that's not what they should do."

What we know about Novak Djokovic's vaccination status so far

Who’s playing at SummerStage in Central Park? Novak Djokovic next set? @DjokerNole @SummerStage @CentralParkNYC

Novak Djokovic has remained tight-lipped about his vaccination status throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, some fans on Twitter recently unearthed some interesting evidence indicating that the Serb might already be vaccinated.

Djokovic was pictured in Central Park during a music festival ahead of the US Open. The music festival required everyone attending a concert to be double vaccinated. This means if Djokovic did make an appearance at a concert, he is fully vaccinated and will be able to take part in the 2022 Australian Open.

But until the 20-time Major champion offers clarification on his vaccination status, everything we see or read on the matter is nothing more than speculation.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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