US Open Champion Daniil Medwedef says he is prepared to play in the Australian Open but will not commit to it with only players vaccinated against Covid who are allowed to compete. The 25-year-old Russian has said he agrees with world number one Novak Djokovic and that medical records should be confidential and private. It seems all but certain that only the players who have been vaccinated will be allowed to take part in the first Grand Slam of the season which kicks off on 17 January in Melbourne.
Despite a leaked email from the WTA last week indicating that unvaccinated players could be quarantined for 14 days, Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews ruled it out and said no releases would be made.
Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic is one of many players who have refused to share their vaccination status, raising doubts about whether he will defend his title.
Medvedev has not elaborated on his own status, but says he is eager to add rugby-to-back Slam titles.
“Look, I want to play there,” he said via Zoom on Sunday at a press conference before the Paris Masters, where he is the defending champion.
“I always said I like a lot of Novak’s answer which is I want to keep my medical, no matter if it is a head or leg injury, private.
“It is for a reason, because tennis is such a cruel sport where you are always one-on-one with your opponent and any information you give him can go against you.
“At one point I decided to keep my medical information private, unless it’s clear.”
“If you play Australia, for example, you are clearly vaccinated.”
“I am prepared to play in Australia, but I will not say whether you will see me there in January.”
Medvedev – who still hopes to replace Djokovic as world number one by the end of the season – said it would be interesting to see who plays in the 2022 opening match.
“It will be easy to see who has been vaccinated if they play in Australia,” said world number two.
“Of course you can say you are injured which is sometimes true, but I am prepared to play in Australia and that is all I have to say.”
This year’s Australian Open was hit hard by the pandemic, with all players going through a two-week quarantine while crowds were limited and a five-day fast-paced exclusion called mid-opportunity.
Fully vaccinated players are expected to be able to enter Australia without being quarantined or confined to bio-safe bubbles, the leaked email added.
Tennis Australia said earlier this week it was working with both the Victorian and federal governments on the conditions for players, saying it was “optimistic that we can keep the Australian Open as close as possible to pre-pandemic conditions”.
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