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“It’s not about blackmail, if Novak Djokovic chooses not to vaccinate that’s a matter for him” Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula hits back at Djokovic’s father amidst blackmail allegations

Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula hits back at Novak Djokovic's father Srdjan who claimed that the Australian Open organisers were blackmailing Novak.

Martin Pakula and Novak Djokovic

Srdjan Djokovic, the father of Novak Djokovic, recently came forward and accused the Australian Open organisers of blackmailing Novak into revealing his vaccination status amidst the rule put forth that would allow only vaccinated people in the premises for the tournament, be it the players, the spectators or the organisers.

“As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not. No one has the right to enter that intimacy. He has the right to decide as he wants. Whether he will appear there depends on them how they will pose. Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won’t. I wouldn’t do that. And he’s my son, so you decide for yourself,” Srdjan had said recently criticising Tennis Australia.

While the Australians are firm on their decision of allowing only vaccinated players, the comments made by Djokovic Sr. did not go well with Victorian state’s sports minister Martin Pakula. The minister justified their stand and said it was the athlete’s personal decision whether to get vaccinated or not, but the rules will not be amended.

“If you’re a visiting international tennis player or a visiting sportsman of any kind it’s about your responsibility to the community that you are being welcomed into. And that’s why we are asking those international tennis stars to follow the same requirements as Victorians are.

It’s not about blackmail, it’s about making sure the Victorian community is protected. I want to make it clear that I really hope that Novak Djokovic gets vaccinated and plays in the Australian Open but if he chooses not to that’s a matter for him,” said Pakula.

Novak Djokovic continues his silent stance over the dispute

Novak Djokovic and Srdjan Djokovic

Amidst all the drama, the player himself has maintained his silence as he continues focussing on leading Serbia in the ongoing 2021 Davis Cup Finals where they have qualified for the quarter-finals and will be facing Kazakhstan for a place in the semi-finals.

Novak had responded to the decision by saying, “We’ll see. We’ll have to wait and see, I haven’t been talking to them, to be honest. I was just waiting to hear what the news is going to be and now that I know we’ll just have to wait and see,” and continues to hold his silence since then after having made the comments after his defeat in the semis of the 2021 ATP Finals.

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