Roger Rasheed believes Novak Djokovic will take part in the 2022 Australian Open despite the stringent vaccination rules being enforced in Melbourne, Victoria. According to Rasheed, it would be “brilliant” if the Serb broke the Grand Slam record Down Under.
Rasheed is the former coach of Lleyton Hewitt, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Grigor Dimitrov. However, in recent years he has mostly plied his trade as a tennis commentator.
Djokovic, meanwhile, recently revealed that he was unsure of his participation at the 2022 Australian Open in light of the recent health mandates announced in Australia. The Serb also refused to reveal his vaccination status.
The State of Victoria, led by Premier Daniel Andrews, announced that all athletes, amongst other workers, must be fully vaccinated by November 26 in order to carry out their activities in the region.
Australia’s immigration minister recently confirmed that unvaccinated players would not be granted a visa to the country. Daniel Andrews echoed these sentiments but added that there was a chance that unvaccinated players would be allowed in provided they spend two weeks in quarantine, something Djokovic has acknowledged he is not keen to do.
But in a conversation with SEN Sportsday, Roger Rasheed said he was confident Novak Djokovic would be at the 2022 Australian Open.
“I think it’s a given that (Novak Djokovic) will be here in January,” he said.
Rasheed pointed out that Djokovic, who is tied on 20 Majors with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, would be keen to break the record at his best Slam.
“He (Novak Djokovic) wants to break the record, it would be brilliant for us to have it in Australia and we’d want to have him break that record here as that’s something that will stand up in world sport,” Rasheed added.
“Novak Djokovic is probably only interested in what’s happening towards the end of December” – Roger Rasheed
Roger Rasheed reckons Novak Djokovic has a bit more time on his hands to make a decision over his participation at the Australian Open. According to the Aussie, Djokovic is biding his time until the end of this year to see how the situation develops with regards to vaccinations.
“Novak is probably only interested in what’s happening towards the end of December, because those conditions will probably dictate how it works when he gets into Australia,” Rasheed said.
Rasheed pointed out that Australia is likely to massively ramp up its vaccination drive in the coming weeks, which could alter the overall situation.
“We’ll get to a vaccination rate here in Australia by then; the circumstances are going to change in the next few weeks,” said Rasheed. “We’re getting closer and closer to unraveling everything and the circumstances will be different by the end of the year.”