The Premier of the Australian state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has made it clear to Novak Djokovic that his status in the sport will not provide him with any benefits when it comes to the vaccination mandate in the state.
The state of Victoria, led by Andrews, recently announced a health order which stated that all professional athletes, amongst other workers, will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of November in order to be allowed into the region.
The rule requires individuals to receive their first dose by October 15 and the second no later than November 26.
Many believe this mandate could prevent nine-time champion Novak Djokovic from taking part in the Australian Open next year, given that he has spoken against mandatory vaccination numerous times over the past year.
While Djokovic has always remained tight-lipped about his own vaccination status, some fans recently unearthed potential evidence about the World No. 1 having already been jabbed.
Nevertheless, others, including Daniel Andrews, are moving along with the assumption that Djokovic is yet to be inoculated. Andrews made it clear in a recent press conference that the 20-time Major champion will not receive any kind of preferential treatment.
"Those titles (20 Grand Slams) won't protect you either, the only titles that'll protect you is that you are able to say that you have had your first dose and you have had your second dose," Daniel Andrews said.
Andrews further asserted that the only unvaccinated individuals who would be permitted into the country would be Australian citizens.
"Logic and numerous conversations with the Prime Minister tell me that if you are an Australian citizen, you will be allowed home if you haven’t had the jab," Andrews added.
The Premier of Victoria added that those coming to the country on visitor visas will not be given the same leeway.
"But if you’re coming on a tourist visa or a business visa, so you’re not an Aussie," he added. "You are coming to visit – the notion of you getting in here without being vaccinated, I think, is very, very low."
Novak Djokovic's former strategist says vaccine mandate is a "right move on many layers"
Australian Craig O'Shannessy, a renowned ATP strategist and number cruncher, recently spoke in favor of the vaccine mandate. The Aussie, who was part of Novak Djokovic's think tank between 2017 and 2019, said the mandate was “the right move on many layers.”
He also highlighted the fact that the ball is now in Djokovic's court with respect to his participation in the 2022 Australian Open.
“It’s Novak’s decision if he wants to get vaccinated. It’s his choice to participate in the Open if there is a mandate,” he said.