Boris Becker "understands" Novak Djokovic's refusal to disclose vaccination status, but says Serb must follow rules to play 2022 Australian Open

Novak Djokovic with Boris Becker at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards
Novak Djokovic with Boris Becker at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards

Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic is well within his rights to remain tight-lipped about his vaccination status, as it is private information. However, Becker suggested that it is in Djokovic's best interests to get vaccinated should he wish to take part in the 2022 Australian Open.

Debate over the World No. 1's vaccination status has raged ever since the State of Victoria recently announced a health order requiring professional athletes to be inoculated no later than 26 November.

While Australia's Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has declared that unvaccinated players can enter the country provided they are willing to quarantine for two weeks, the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, is strictly against the idea.

Given that none of the rules have been set in stone, it appears that Novak Djokovic is biding his time waiting to see how the situation unfolds over the next few weeks.

It is pertinent to note that if Djokovic is already vaccinated, he will have no problem entering Melbourne for his title defence. But the 20-time Major champion has, so far, refused to disclose his vaccination status to the world.

In a recent podcast called Das Gelbe vom Ball, Boris Becker stressed that the Serb has the right to keep such details close to the chest.

“I can understand it [Djokovic's reluctance to disclose his vaccination status] at first," Boris Becker said. "That is his right, that is privacy, that has to be protected."

However, the six-time Major champion pointed out that Djokovic would have little choice but to abide by the rules should he wish to play at his most successful Slam.

"But if he wants to work as a tennis player, then unfortunately they are rules and for all tennis players who want to go to Australia: The State of Victoria requires proof of vaccination," Becker added.
"It is completely unimportant what we mean," continued Becker. "If the Australian government has decided that way, there is only one solution."

Novak Djokovic's former coach believes tennis players "don't like to be pigeonholed"

Boris Becker working with Novak Djokovic at the 2016 French Open
Boris Becker working with Novak Djokovic at the 2016 French Open

During the podcast, Boris Becker also highlighted the fact that tennis players are essentially private contractors who are not governed by any particular team or club.

As such, the German reckons tennis professionals are "free spirits" who don't like to be placed in a straitjacket.

"Tennis players are their own entrepreneurs,” Becker said.“They don't play for a team and tennis players in general - I know what I'm talking about - are free spirits. We don't like to be pigeonholed."

Becker further claimed he was "surprised" that the majority of tennis players continue to remain unvaccinated. He indicated that the situation is not ideal given that the general masses, including Premier League footballers, are getting vaccinated at a good pace.

"I also heard the numbers and of course I was surprised how many tennis players are not vaccinated," Becker said. "If you look around the world, the number of people who have been vaccinated keeps increasing - I think that's positive."
“According to reports, two thirds of the Premier League footballers are also vaccinated," he added.

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Edited by Arvind Sriram

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