World No. 5 Andrey Rublev recently spoke about the chances of World No. 1 Novak Djokovic‘s participation at the upcoming 2022 Australian Open where he will be the 3-time defending champion having won a total of 9 titles at the Slam in Melbourne, the most at any Grand Slam venue of his total of 20 career Slams.
Novak’s participation at the next year’s Slam is however doubtful as the player has refused to comment on his vaccination status and the tournament has made vaccination compulsory. They might allow unvaccinated players also provided the player gets the exemption from the medical committee formed that will assess the reasons why a player is not vaccinated and then decide accordingly.
Amidst this drama, Rublev had some opinions of his own as Novak’s absence will surely make the field wide open for others to earn their Slam in Australia given the Serbian is a 3-time defending champion and won 3 out of the 4 Slams in 2021 only to lose the finals of the 2021 US Open, or else would have achieved the Calendar Slam, all 4 Slams won in a single calendar year.
“I don’t know if Novak will do it. To be honest, I think he won’t play it. Still, the Australian Open is a very difficult tournament to win and there are a lot of players capable of winning the tournament,” said Rublev in his recent interview with Eurosport.
Andrey Rublev doubts Rafael Nadal will play the AO 2022
World No. 6 and champion of the 2009 Australian Open, Rafael Nadal is also one of the doubtful players for the next year’ Slam. The Spaniard ended his 2021 season in August due to an injury and then made his comeback at the 3-day exhibition event in Abu Dhabi post which he tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.
“I don’t know if Rafa will also play in the tournament or not. We will have to be careful in the coming days,” added Rublev speaking on Nadal’s chances as players often find it difficult to play immediately as the virus affects the stamina and physical well being of the person.
With Roger Federer already out of the tournament, the potential absence of Djokovic and Nadal will certainly be tempting for the youngsters who are eyeing their first major.