Roger Federer has advantage over Rafael Nadal if Novak Djokovic handed Australian Open ban
Roger Federer 'not the player he was' says Rupert Bell
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Roger Federer may have a golden chance to win what may be his final Grand Slam after reports broke that Novak Djokovic may miss the next Australian Open. It’s likely that all participants must have been vaccinated and Djokovic has chosen to not disclose his vaccination status thus far.
Tennis icon Roger Federer could be in line for another grand slam if Novak Djokovic is banned for the upcoming Australian Open.
The Serbian has been in incredible form throughout 2021, winning three of the four major tournaments, but could miss out on another after losing to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.
Djokovic is believed to be one of the tennis stars who have not been vaccinated, and a debate between tennis officials and Australian politicians is set to be held, with a stance of mandatory vaccines likely to be adopted for all players.
Therefore Federer could be handed a major boost as he targets his first major since 2018.
Djokovic implied that he had not received the vaccine during the French Open, as he said when speaking about mandatory vaccines: “I don’t think it’ll come to that. I hope not, because I’ve always believed in freedom of choice.
“And I will keep the decision as to whether I’m going to get vaccinated or not to myself, it’s an intimate decision and I don’t want to go into this game of pro and against vaccines, which the media is unfortunately creating these days.”
Djokovic has won the last three Australian Open titles, and nine in total which is the most throughout tennis history, meaning that should the Serbian be forced to miss the tournament, it will be a huge advantage to all other players, especially Federer.
The Swiss legend may be 40, but Federer has won the competition six times, and was the last player to win it before Djokovic in 2018, defeating Marin Cilic after getting the better of Rafael Nadal the year before.
In fact, Nadal has lost his last four Australian Open finals, and hasn’t won the competition since 2009, and during that time, only Stan Wawrinka is the only player other than Federer, Djokovic and the Spaniard to experience victory in Australia.
The record makes good reading for Federer fans, and the Swiss international is fast running out of time to add to his impressive collection of grand slam titles, making this his best opportunity left if Djokovic was to miss the tournament.
Djokovic has remained extremely tight-lipped about his vaccination stance, and said: “I don’t want to be labelled as someone who is against or who is for vaccines.
“I’m not going to answer the question and hope that everyone will respect that.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has said that it is unlikely that anyone will be able to successfully apply for an Australian visa without proof of full vaccination, further plunging Djokovic’s chances into doubt.
Andrews said: “[Tennis grand slam] titles won’t protect you either. The only title that will protect you is you being able to have had your first dose and second dose.
“Logic tells me and numerous conversations with the Prime Minister… tells me that if you are an Australian citizen, you will be allowed home if you haven’t had the jab.
“But if you’re coming on a tourist visa or a business visa, so you’re not an Aussie, like, you are coming to visit, the notion of you getting in here without being vaccinated, I think is very, very low.”
It’s extremely likely that any player wishing to take full advantage of Djokovic’s absence will have to get past Medvedev, who has emerged as one of the best hard court players on the scene.
Medvedev is currently ranked as the world No 2, making him the highest-ranked competitor without Djokovic.
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