Daniil Medvedev ‘surprised’ by Australian Open vaccine decision after defending Djokovic

Daniil Medvedev reacts to US Open win over Novak Djokovic

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Daniil Medvedev has shared his “surprise” at the Australian Open’s recent announcement that all players must be vaccinated in order to compete. Government officials had been pushing a vaccine mandate in recent months, but Tennis Australia only confirmed the decision on Saturday (November 20). It leaves the likes of defending champion Novak Djokovic in doubt to play the season-opening Grand Slam in January.

There had been talks of a vaccine mandate at the Australian Open for several months, as the Victoria Premier had continued to refuse entry into the state for unjabbed players.

Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic was one player against the idea of mandatory vaccination, and has previously refused to declare his vaccination status in the name of medical privacy.

Last month, the world No 1 told Serbian newspaper Blic he was unsure whether he’d attempt to defend his title at next year’s edition of the tournament, but he later told reporters at the Paris Masters that he wouldn’t comment on the matter anymore until a final decision was made.

Craig Tiley, head of Tennis Australia and the Australian Open Tournament Director, confirmed on Saturday (November 20) that proof of full vaccination would be mandatory for all players looking to compete in the season-opening Major.

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“There’s a lot of speculation about vaccination and just to be really clear, when the [state] Premier announced that everyone on site will need to be vaccinated, we made that clear to the playing group,” said the Tennis Australia boss.

Tiley also confirmed there would be not exemptions to the rule – even for the nine-time champion.

He added: “[Novak] has said that he views this as a private matter for him. We would love to see Novak here – he knows that he’ll have to be vaccinated to play here.”

The 2020 Australian Open runner-up Daniil Medvedev has now had his say on the announcement to make vaccination mandatory.

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The world No 2 has previously defended Djokovic’s stance over a potential vaccine mandate, saying: “I always said it, that I really like Novak’s answer about this. I want to keep my medical, no matter if it’s about vaccine, leg injury, head injury. I want to keep my medical private for a reason.

“I feel like tennis is such a brutal sport where you’re always one on one against your opponent, and any information you give him can go against you.”

Although the Russian also opted not to disclose his vaccination status, he confirmed earlier this month that he would be competing at the Australian Open as he tweeted: “See you in January!” alongside a heart emoji and the @AustralianOpen handle.

Now, Medvedev admitted he was surprised by the timing of the announcement that all players required full vaccination.

“I actually am a little bit surprised that they confirmed it so late. It’s been months,” the recent US Open champion said, speaking to reporters after he booked a place in the final of the Nitto ATP Finals for a second year running.

Although the 13-time tour title winner was thrown off by the decision to wait before announcing the vaccine mandate, he revealed he had been prepared for organisers to make the jab mandatory, adding: “At least I knew that’s probably the case.”

Casper Ruud, the man Medvedev defeated in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals on Saturday (November 20) also commented on the decision, saying: “I don’t think it’s the tournament that decides it’s the government.

“You will have to ask the mayor or the governor or whatever they call it down there of Victoria. He’s the one that decides. The tournament is played in Melbourne. That’s how it is everywhere we go.

“We have to listen to the government, and they will decide. I’m sure Craig Tiley and the rest of the team are doing everything they can to be able to put on the event. That’s the rule for next year. Yeah, we will have to deal with it.”
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