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Novak Djokovic drops Australian Open hint as Andy Murray makes coaching decision

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WEEKLY TENNIS ROUND-UP: Novak Djokovic appeared on the entry list for the Australian Open despite mandatory vaccinations in one of the big tennis stories of the last week.

Novak Djokovic put himself on the entry list for the Australian Open after months of speculation over his participation.

The nine-time champion in Melbourne has been a doubt to compete since a vaccine mandate was introduced, as he has previously spoken out against them and ruled out disclosing his vaccination status, but reports now suggest that Djokovic may be looking to apply for a medical exemption to compete without getting jabbed.

Andy Murray split with his long-time coach Jamie Delgado on Friday (December 10), and is currently undergoing a test period with German coach Jan De Witt, as the pair are both set to travel to this week’s Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition together to continue their trial.

The International Tennis Federation announced their decision to scrap all their sanctioned tournaments in China last week, as concerns remain over the wellbeing of former doubles No 1 Peng Shuai after she accused the country’s vice premier of sexual assault over a month ago.

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And the tennis world lost a legend as four-time Grand Slam champion and former world No 1 Manolo Santana passed away aged 83.

Express Sport takes a look back at the biggest news stories on and off the tennis court from the past week…

Djokovic appears on Australian Open entry list amid medical exemption rumours
Novak Djokovic has signed up for the Australian Open in Melbourne and ATP Cup in Sydney after months of speculation over the world No 1’s participation.

Tennis Australia boss and Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed on Novenber 21 that all players competing in the event would have to be fully vaccinated.

The nine-time Aussie Open champion had previously admitted he didn’t know if he was going and, since the vaccine mandate was confirmed, told reporters “we’ll see” and “you’ll know very soon” about his participation.

While Djokovic is yet to confirm his participation, his name has now appeared on the entry lists for both the ATP Cup and Australian Open.

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He can still withdraw from both tournaments before they begin, but there has been talk that the 34-year-old is looking to apply for a medical exemption after Australia’s Herald Sun and 7 News Melbourne reported that the 20-time Grand Slam champion would possibly be applying for an “exemption to enter Australia on medical grounds”, meaning he would be allowed in without needing the jab and would benefit from more freedoms than unvaccinated members of the public.

However, Craig Tiley and Australian government officials including the Prime Minister have shut down the prospect of the world No 1 being allowed an exemption.

“He [Djokovic] will follow the same rules as anyone else would. There are no special rules for tennis players or anyone else,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters on Thursday (December 9).

Meanwhile, Tiley told ABC: “I’ve seen reports this morning. There’s been no medical exemptions that have been granted at this point.

“Everyone goes on the entry list. It’s not a commitment list about exactly who’s in the draw. That comes in several weeks’ time when the actual list and draw gets finalised for the Australian Open.”

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