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Serena Williams out for Australian Open 2022, Novak Djokovic set to play

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The 2022 Australian Open entry list has been released, and one notable person is absent from the list: seven-time champion Serena Williams.

Back in July, Williams retired from Wimbledon in the first round because of a hamstring injury. She hasn’t played competitive tennis since. Williams spoke with the Australian Open website about why she wouldn’t be playing in the January grand slam tournament, and her reason is that she’s not physically ready to play at that level.

“While this is never an easy decision to make, I am not where I need to be physically to compete,” Williams said. “Melbourne is one of my favorite cities to visit and I look forward to playing at the AO every year. I will miss seeing the fans, but am excited to return and compete at my highest level.”

novak djokovic umpire

A few weeks ago, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said players would be required to be vaccinated in order to travel to Australia and play in the grand slam tournament. This sparked conversations around world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who has spoken out about his unvaccinated status. Tiley said Djokovic would have to be vaccinated in order to play, just like every other player.

Well, on Tuesday’s entry list, the nine-time champion Djokovic is on it. Djokovic has not released any information on his vaccination status, however.

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This gives Djokovic a chance to take the overall most grand slam titles for men’s tennis if he can capture the 2022 Australian Open. Right now, he is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for 20 grand slams each. Nadal also will be playing at the Australian Open, but Federer’s name is not on the list. This was expected from Federer, though, after he announced in August that he would undergo a third knee surgery and would likely miss many months. As of now, he plans to return to tennis at some point.

Novak Djokovic and serena2

Another notable player on the entry list is Naomi Osaka, who hasn’t played since her third-round loss at the 2021 U.S. Open. After her loss, Osaka conducted an emotional news conference in which she admitted that she may take a break from tennis again to focus on her mental health

Behind Djokovic at the No. 1 spot for the 2022 draw is Daniil Medvedev, who just beat Djokovic at the 2021 U.S. Open, followed by Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev to finish out the top five spots for the men’s draw. Nadal sits close behind at No. 6.

On the women’s side, Australian Ash Barty sits at the No. 1 spot, followed by Aryna Sabalenka, Garbine Muguruza, Karolina Pliskova and Barbora Krejcikova.

The Australian Open begins on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 30.

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