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Novak Djokovic given food for thought on future after tournament chief’s admission



NOVAK DJOKOVIC faces an uncertain future in tennis after his Australian Open fiasco.

Novak Djokovic has been given food for thought on his tennis future after Miami Open tournament director James Blake claimed that he would ‘love’ to see the Serb compete this year. It remains to be seen how a well-publicised, and highly controversial Covid-related saga will be addressed by Djokovic after the Australian Open, with many wondering what is next for the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

The constantly evolving chain of events was kick-started when Djokovic obtained a medical vaccine exemption to compete in Melbourne.

That caused plenty of controversy in a country with a high vaccination rate and strict rules on Covid, particularly when the 34-year-old’s unvaccinated status emerged.

Upon arrival, he was held in a Melbourne detention centre for several days and even when a judge ordered that he be released, Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke stepped in and exercised his personal powers to deport him from the country.


Djokovic, therefore, lost out on the chance to retain his Australian Open crown amid fears that a lenient approach could stir up anti-vaccine sentiment in Australia.


Not much has been heard from the Djokovic camp since his deportation, and speculation continues to swirl about how his stance against mandated vaccines will impact his ability to compete at future tournaments. He has already been warned about the threats of potentially being banned from certain tournaments due to his vaccination status.

Miami Open chief James Blake, however, has thrown caution to the wind by claiming that the Serbian extraordinaire would be welcome at the tournament, which runs from March 21-28.

“We’d love to have him, he’s one of the greatest champions we’ve ever had in the sport,” he told the Miami Herald.

“I believe he will go down as the greatest champion. He still got quite a few more years of being at or near the top of the game

“It’s a matter of him figuring out how to navigate this time, the protocols, what’s safe, what isn’t safe?”


Blake also added that he believes Djokovic’s Australian Open saga was ‘poorly handled on all fronts’.

Amid tightening Covid rules in France, it was speculated that Djokovic would not be allowed to compete in May’s French Open if he refused to budge on his firm stance against being vaccinated.

But he has since been offered hope, with La Gazzetta claiming that a Covid infection within six months of the tournament would be enough to earn a Covid passport, which is needed to enter public places.

novak djokovic

The two-time Roland Garros winner’s positive test in December should therefore allow him entry to compete at the tournament.

Even if a loophole can be found on that occasion, Djokovic is still likely to face difficulties competing in a global sport in a world that continues to take a cautious approach to Covid.

Labour MP Chris Evans, in an exclusive interview with, suggests that it could influence his future standing in tennis’ ‘GOAT’ debate.


“Going forward I think he has a problem ‒ if restrictions remain he’s going to struggle to play, and that means it’s going to affect his drive and his chances of breaking that record of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and becoming seen in most people’s eyes as the greatest player of all time,” he said.

“I think it has really muddied the water for [himself] going forward.”