Boris Becker believes Novak Djokovic "loves tennis history too much" to miss 2022 Australian Open, says "you have to follow the rules" on vaccine mandate

Boris Becker and Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco
Boris Becker and Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco
Ewan West

Boris Becker has revealed he "can't imagine" that Novak Djokovic will not play at the 2022 Australian Open due to his love for the sport. The German, who coached Djokovic from 2014 to 2016, asserted that the World No. 1 must follow the rules regarding vaccination being mandatory to play in the event.

Djokovic's participation at next year's Australian Open is uncertain as he has repeatedly declined to reveal his vaccination status. The World No. 1 had said "we'll have to wait and see" when asked if he would feature in Melbourne at last week's ATP Finals.

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley recently confirmed players would have to be vaccinated to play the season's first Major in January. Djokovic has won a record nine Australian Open titles and is the two-time defending champion.

Speaking to Eurosport Germany’s podcast, Das Gelbe vom Ball, Becker expressed his expectation that his former charge will play in Australia. The six-time Major champion highlighted the chance for Djokovic to win a record 21st Grand Slam title, and his incredible success at the event, as significant factors.

"I can't imagine that he won't play in Australia,” Becker said. "He loves the sport too much for that, he loves tennis history too much for that. He wants to reach 21 Grand Slam wins. Australia is his best Grand Slam. He has already won nine times there. Why shouldn't he win a 10th time?"

Becker also sided with Djokovic over the Serb's view that people should have freedom of choice regarding vaccination. The German stated, however, that athletes should comply with any regulations in order to compete.

"He says it is his personal decision whether to get vaccinated or not," Becker continued. "It is nobody's business. I'm with him on that. But if he wants to play on the tennis tour - and we're also having this discussion about [Bayern Munich footballer] Joshua Kimmich - then you just have to follow the rules."
"That means you have to be vaccinated in order to play," Becker added. "That applies to Djokovic, that applies to Kimmich and that applies to every athlete who is at home in their respective sport."

Novak Djokovic chases second Davis Cup title at 2021 event

Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid
Novak Djokovic at the 2019 Davis Cup Finals in Madrid

Novak Djokovic is looking to win the Davis Cup title for the second time at the 2021 Davis Cup Finals. The 34-year-old helped Serbia win the team event for the only time in the nation's history in 2010.

Team Serbia reporting for duty πŸ‡·πŸ‡Έ#DavisCupFinals #byRakuten

Serbia are in Group F alongside Germany and Austria for the tournament, which gets underway on Thursday. The group's matches will be played in Innsbruck.

Edited by Arvind Sriram
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