"There is a lot at stake here" - Jim Courier claims Nadal and Djokovic are in race to make history

With Novak Djokovic's status for the Australian Open still in doubt, retired American pro Jim Courier believes the Serbian could end up losing the race to 21 Grand Slams to longtime rival, Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic has yet to confirm his participation at next year's Australian Open, as the Australian government has banned unvaccinated players from competing at the event. The Serbian has been coy about whether he has received the vaccination, stating he would reveal his decision once an official announcement was made concerning vaccination guidelines in Melbourne.

In an interview on the Tennis Channel, Courier stated he believes the World No.1 would be under pressure to compete in Australia, as he would like to be the first man to reach 21 singles Grand Slam titles. Djokovic is currently tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slams apiece, and the trophy in Australia could cement any man's legacy as the greatest of all time.

“Anyone who wants to get in and work in Australia has to be vaccinated and he (Djokovic) gets that he can’t get that normal top player exemption which in most things happens for him and for all the other top players," said Courier.

“This is a real crossroads dilemma for him because when you factor in what Andy Roddick said about Rafa jumping at the bit to get to 21 Grand Slams first that would also give Rafa, if he was able to stay healthy and play in Australia, all of the Majors at least twice. Something Novak has done at least as well.

“There is a lot at stake here in the cannons of tennis history and this is a really fascinating wrinkle to it.”

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