“On the issue of vaccination, we have decided to take the hard and consistent line of the state. The virus doesn't care what your classic tennis game is or how many Grand Slams you've won. It is completely irrelevant.
You must be vaccinated to protect yourself and others”. With these words, the Prime Minister of the Australian state of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has announced that there will be no exemptions for unvaccinated athletes for the next edition of the Australian Open.
Taking into account that, at least according to some reliable estimates, more than 40% of the players present on the ATP Tour have not completed the vaccination cycle, the news released in the last hours could have a strong impact on the first Major of the year and about the tennis players who will be able to arrive in Melbourne in early 2022.
Much has been made of Novak Djokovic, one of the few who has broached the issue in recent days, and the possibility that he may not be able to defend the title he won last year against Daniil Medvedev in the final.
Sonego opens up on Djokovic
In a recent interview with Gazzetta, Lorenzo Sonego acknowledged that Novak Djokovic's results this year have proven that he is statistically the "strongest in history."
The Italian also highlighted how Djokovic harbors the loftiest ambitions, like wanting to win a Calendar Slam. "Djokovic has had incredible results, is practically the strongest in history in terms of trophies won," Sonego said.
"He has the grandest objectives, like winning the CYGS which he almost did this year." The Victorian government announced a mandate requiring all athletes, amongst other workers, to be vaccinated no later than November 26 should they wish to take part in the 2022 Australian Open.
The Serb's vaccination status is currently unknown as he has remained tight-lipped about the matter throughout. As such, many have assumed that Djokovic is unvaccinated and could be forced to skip the 2022 Australian Open.
"Djokovic has won everything, he only thinks of being calm and having fun and, if he does not consider the conditions advantageous for himself, he can give up the tournaments," Sonego said. Sonego and Djokovic faced off this season in the semi-final of the Italian Open where the Serb triumphed 6-3, 7-6(5), 6-2.
The Italian tennis player was last seen at the Indian Wells Masters. Sadly, he lost in the first round. He even competed in the doubles event but lost in the quarterfinal. Djokovic was one win away from creating history by winning all four Grand Slam events this season. Since then, he has not been seen on a tennis court competing.