Craig Tiley says Novak Djokovic wants to play the Australian Open but the tournament chief remains uncertain of the world No.1’s vaccination status.
Tiley on Wednesday admitted a small cohort of players and staff would be allowed into Melbourne Park without being vaccinated after being granted medical exemptions.
But, at this stage, no players had informed Open officials they’d received an exemption.
And because of privacy protocols, Tiley didn’t know if Djokovic had requested a medical exemption, nor would anyone ever know unless the nine-times champion revealed so himself.
Djokovic has repeatedly refused to declare his vaccination status after the Victorian government ruled that only fully vaccinated players, their entourages, staff and fans would be able to attend the season’s first grand slam from January 17-30.
Tiley said if Djokovic fronted up, it meant he’d either been jabbed or been granted an exemption.
“It’s his choice,” Tiley said.
Tiley is also confident fellow 20-times grand slam champion Rafael Nadal will contest the Open despite testing positive to COVID-19 after his appearance last week at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.
Nadal has since returned home to Spain but will likely fly to Australia after being cleared of the virus.
In other developments, Tiley said all Open players would be staying in the same accommodation – Crown Towers – during the tournament, with testing on site, to keep them separate from public.
Fan capacity was reduced during this year’s disrupted event, which included five days without any spectators because of a coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne.
But Tiley said “we have zero expectation of a cap on crowds” for the 2022 edition.
“If there’s a position we have to limit numbers we’ll respond accordingly,” he said.
Meanwhile, veteran ex-US Open champion Samantha Stosur has been granted a wildcard into the tournament having failed to gain direct entry after not winning a singles match since February.