Former world No. 1 Jim Courier acknowledged that a lot could be at stake at the Australian Open and he is interested to see if Rafael Nadal would take the advantage if Novak Djokovic skipped the opening Grand Slam of the season.
The Australian Open has confirmed unvaccinated players will not be allowed to play at Melbourne Park and Djokovic didn't want to confirm his participation at the event. Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer are all tied on the all-time Grand Slam record list with 20 Majors.
"This is real crossroads for him (Djokovic)... By the way that would also give Rafa, if he was able to be healthy and win Australia, all the Majors at least twice. Something that Novak has done as well. There is a lot at stake here in the canons of tennis history," Courier said on Tennis Channel.
Djokovic will have to be fully vaccinated in order to play in Melbourne
“We have been speaking to Novak and his team and they understand clearly that in order to come and play in the Australian Open they need to be fully vaccinated,” Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said.
“They know that it’s a condition for everyone, not just the players, but the fans and all the staff and he had indicated that it’s a private decision for him and at the right time he will tell us. “I know that he wants to play, he’s clearly indicated that and he knows the conditions that he would have to undergo in order to be eligible to play”.
Tiley suggested Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews was the main man behind banning unvaccinated players from playing at Melbourne Park. “It’s been made very clear, when the premier announced several weeks ago that in order to participate at the Australian Open, to come into Victoria, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated,” Tiley said.
“Immediately we communicated that to the playing group. It is the one direction that you take that can ensure everyone’s safety. “All the playing group understands it. Our patrons will need to be vaccinated, all the staff working the Australian Open will need to be vaccinated, when you’re in a state where there is more than 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated, it’s the right thing to do”.