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Novak Djokovic: 2023 Australian Open Status 'Not in My Hands' amid Vaccination Status

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 22, 2022

Lewis Storey/Getty Images for Laver Cup

Novak Djokovic is still holding out hope he'll be able to play in the 2023 Australian Open despite his refusal to undergo COVID-19 vaccination.

"It's really not in my hands right now," Djokovic told reporters Thursday. "So I'm hoping I will get some positive news."

Djokovic was deported from Australia in January, with the Australian prime minister, Scott Morrison, and health minister, Greg Hunt, saying he had no "valid" excuse for a medical exemption (via the Guardian). He was also barred from playing in this year's U.S. Open because of his vaccination status.

The United States bars unvaccinated adults from entering the country in virtually all cases, though there are some exceptions. Djokovic does not qualify under any of the exceptions.

If Djokovic wants to clear his own path to play, the easiest answer remains for him to undergo vaccination. However, the Serb has maintained he will continue to refuse vaccination regardless of how it impacts his tennis career.

"I don't have any regrets. I mean, I do feel sad that I wasn't able to play [at the U.S. Open], but that was a decision that I made, and I knew what the consequences would be," Djokovic said. "So I accepted them, and that's it."

This week's Laver Cup is the first time Djokovic has played in a competitive tennis tournament since winning Wimbledon in July. His inability to play in tournaments has led to Djokovic dropping from No. 1 in the world to No. 7.

Rafael Nadal has also passed him on the all-time Grand Slams list, sitting one ahead with 22 championships.

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