Novak Djokovic teammate exposes message world No.1 sent him over Australian Open

A teammate of Novak Djokovic has revealed a text message sent by the Serbian star which sheds light on his current Australian Open status.

The issue of Djokovic participating in Melbourne has become a long running saga after organisers made it mandatory for players to be double vaccinated against Covid-19 – or provide evidence of medical exemption – to compete.

Djokovic has long refused to reveal whether or not he has received his jabs, but has previously spoken out against the mandate, saying he believes it conflicts the notion of freedom of choice.

His secrecy has led to widespread assumptions that he isn't vaccinated, although hopes of him defending his title down under were then raised when he was named in the Serbia team for the ATP Cup.

The team tournament, which starts in Sydney on January 1, traditionally doubles up as a warm-up event for players ahead of the first Grand Slam of the year.

Serbia have been drawn in a group with Chile, Norway, and Spain, with Djokovic originally scheduled to face Casper Ruud on the opening day.

However, the 34-year-old then withdrew for the event without explanation, prompting further speculation he will not be in Victoria for the Open, which starts on January 17.

Now Dusan Lajovic, who will lead his country at the ATP Cup in the absence of the world no 1, has exposed that Djokovic messaged the team to inform them of his decision regarding the Sydney event, but stopped short of explaining why.

"I mean, the decision, he said, 'I'm not coming, guys, to the ATP Cup. We'll see about the Australian Open'. He didn't specify if he's coming or not but that he's waiting for decision," he told reporters.

World no 22 Lajovic added: "I don't know the official reason. Maybe the ATP knows."

While his vaccination status remains unclear, the message suggests that Djokovic still doesn't know himself if he will play at a major tournament that he has dominated in recent times.

He's won in Melbourne on nine occasions, including three times on the bounce in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and would be the bookies' favourite to retain the title this time around.

Participating would also give him another chance to win a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title, moving him clear of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer.

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