Australian Open boss Craig Tiley expects up to 95 per cent of professional players will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time of the Grand Slam in January but is unsure whether Novak Djokovic will be among them; A bumper schedule of warm-up tournaments have also been announced
Last Updated: 25/11/21 8:14am
Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley expects up to 95 per cent of players will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the time of the Grand Slam in January.
Victoria state’s strict vaccination mandate has motivated players to get their shots before Melbourne Park, where fans and staff will also be banned if unvaccinated.
“Today more than 85 per cent are (vaccinated),” Tiley said of professional players on local radio station SEN on Thursday.
“And we take a lot of credit for that because we put a vaccination requirement on it.
“We think by the time we get to January it will be between 90-95 per cent vaccinated because if you’re not, you cannot play.”
World No 1 Novak Djokovic has declined to disclose his vaccination status, saying it is a matter of personal choice, and was non-committal about defending his Australian Open title in Melbourne when asked about it at the ATP Finals.
“Novak has won nine Australian Opens, I’m sure he wants to get to 10,” said Tiley. “He’s on 20 Grand Slam titles as is Rafa Nadal, who is coming, and Roger Federer.
“One of them is going to surpass the other and I don’t think Novak would want to leave that to someone else.”
Sydney to host ATP Cup as part of bumper warm-up schedule
Sydney will host the ATP Cup from January 1-9 as part of a bumper schedule of warm-up tournaments ahead of the Australian Open.
Governing body Tennis Australia (TA) also confirmed Melbourne would host Australian Open qualifying from January 10-14 after 2021 qualifying was played abroad due to COVID-19.
A record 17 tournaments are expected be staged in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia states in the lead up to the first Grand Slam of the year.
After the ATP Cup, Australia’s largest city will host the one-off Sydney Tennis Classic, featuring a WTA 500 event and an ATP 250 tournament.
Adelaide will host four men’s and women’s tournaments back-to-back from January 2-15 while Melbourne Park, the Australian Open venue, will stage another three tournaments from January 3-9.