Djokovic calls for ‘freedom’ over Covid jab amid Australian Open uncertainty

Novak Djokovic has reiterated his belief in 'freedom of choice' as his participation in January's Australian Open remains in doubt.

Djokovic, 34, has long refused to reveal his vaccination status and his secrecy has been perceived by some as an admission that he is yet to receive his jabs.

If so, then it's almost certain that the Serb won't be defending his title in Melbourne, with Government officials in the state of Victoria unrelenting in their stance that unvaccinated players will be prevented from entering the tournament.

However, controversial Australian player Nick Kyrgios said on his podcast this week that despite being fully vaccinated himself, he doesn't believe the notion should be mandatory for fellow professionals.

His words pleasantly surprised the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who has received frequent verbal volleys from Kyrgios in the past, and he responded by doubling down on his own stance.

Djokovic is currently in Turin bidding for a sixth ATP Finals crown, and told reporters: "That was unexpected (Krygios' comments) knowing what was coming from him towards me in the last couple of years.

"But this time I must agree with him that the freedom of choice is essential for everyone, whether it's me or somebody else.

"Doesn't really matter whether it's vaccination or anything else in life. You should have the freedom to choose, to decide what you want to do. In this particular case, what you want to put in your body."

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion, and is just one win away from the magic number of 21 Slam titles, which would move him clear of long-time rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

However, being on the brink of history isn't about to alter his ethical beliefs – and his stance has been supported by world no.2 Daniil Medvedev.

"I have been always a proponent of that and always a supporter of freedom of choice, and I will be always supporting that because freedom is essential for I'd say a happy and prosperous life," he added.

Regardless of the background noise, Djokovic's form on-court has prospered ever since his US Open final defeat by Medvedev in September.

After winning the Paris Masters, he's prevailed in his opening two matches in Italy, beating Casper Ruud and then Andrey Rublev in straight sets.

His final group game is against Britain's Cameron Norrie.

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