Djokovic's "blackmail" claim dismissed by Australian government

With the Australian Open only a few weeks away, it appears defending champion Novak Djokovic will not be competing in the first Grand Slam of the season.

Earlier this week, Djokovic’s father claimed earlier this week that the World No.1 was being ‘blackmailed’ into taking the vaccine, in light of the requirement for players to be fully vaccinated to compete in next year’s tournament.

“Under these blackmails and conditions, Djokovic probably won’t play,” Srdjan Djokovic told Serbian media.

However, Australian Minister Martin Pakula has struck back, denying that they are imposing a vaccine "blackmail" upon the Serbian.

“If you’re a visiting international tennis player, or a visiting sportsman of any kind, it’s about your responsibility to the community that you are being welcomed into,” Pakula told Australian media. “And that’s why we are asking those international tennis stars to follow the same requirements as Victorians are.

“It’s not about blackmail, it’s about making sure the Victorian community is protected.

“I want to make it clear that I really hope that Novak Djokovic gets vaccinated and plays in the Australian Open. But if he chooses not to, that’s a matter for him.”

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