Novak Djokovic bashed by Karl Stefanovic as Australian Open confirm Serb faces ban

Novak Djokovic speaks following his US Open defeat against Daniil Medvedev.

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Novak Djokovic has been slammed by Australian TV presenter Karl Stefanovic after sharing his doubts over competing in the Australian Open after talks of a vaccine mandate. The world No 1 has won the last three editions of the tournament but faces a ban from playing in 2022 as he refuses to disclose his vaccination status.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that Djokovic will not be present in Melbourne for the upcoming Australian Open.

The Serb is a nine-time champion and would be able to make history by reaching 21 Major titles if he won the title in January, but is set to miss the first Grand Slam of next season.

The world No 1 has previously spoken out against vaccine mandates and has now voiced his doubts over travelling, as the Australian government closes in on a ban for all unvaccinated players.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke told ABC Radio on Wednesday (October 20): “Our health advice is that when we open the borders, everyone that comes to Australia will have to be double vaccinated.

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“I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everyone who wishes to visit Australia, you’ll need to be double vaccinated. That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players.”

After Djokovic said he thought the situation was “not good at all”, the host of Australia’s Channel 9 Today Show, Karl Stefanovic, ripped into the Serb.

Though he thought it was disappointing not to see the world No 1 in Melbourne, he made a quip about how liked Djokovic was in the country.

“You’re going to have people going to the Australian Open tennis tournament, which is going to be incredible,” he said.

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“A shame not to have him there. You’ll have double-vaccinated people in the crowd, you can’t let him in. 

“He is not our favourite anyway.”

After taking a jibe at the 20-time Grand Slam champion, his co-host Allison Langdon added: “He is not well liked, is he?”

Djokovic has remained strong over his stance on vaccination status, saying it is not something that he should have to disclose.

Speaking to Serbian newspaper Blic, he said: “I don’t know if I’m going to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.

“I have my opinion and it has always been the same. I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not.

“It is a private matter and according to our law, whoever asks you, you can in some way charge him for asking you. That is an inappropriate question.”

Though the 34-year-old’s issue appears to be with a potential vaccine mandate, as it was announced unvaccinated players were unlikely to be given a visa into Australia, he also said his decision to miss the tournament would also be from a “sporting” perspective, despite placing emphasis on his new focus on Grand Slam titles.

“I’m telling you from the sporting point of view, I don’t know if I’ll go,” he added.

“Of course, I want to go, Australia is my most successful Grand Slam, I want to participate, I love this sport, I still have the motivation, but I said why I have this motivation. That’s the whole story.”

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