Novak Djokovic has confirmed his participation for the ATP Cup starting January 1, raising hopes that the World No 1 will defend his Australian Open crown.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner’s title defence has been under speculation for months as the Victoria state government made it mandatory for all players to be fully inoculated. Djokovic however, has refused to reveal his vaccination status.
It reached a point where, last week, Djokovic’s father told Serbian media that the nine-time Australian Open champion will skip the Major rather than give into the “blackmail.”
However, Djokovic, who this week celebrates his 350th week as World No 1, will compete at the ATP Cup for Serbia as revealed by an ATP press release.
The team event will be held in Sydney, New South Wales. However, unless granted exemption by the Australian government, Djokovic will have to undergo 14-days quarantine as soon as he lands in Sydney.
The Victoria government has made it clear it will not apply for exemptions and requires everyone entering the state to be vaccinated.
But since Djokovic will be in Australia to lead the Serbian team, there is speculation that he will indeed take the trip to Melbourne to compete for a fourth successive title.
Based on the 16-nation format, only the winners of the four groups make it to the semi-final stage of the event.
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That means Djokovic’s Serbian team will have to beat Norway, Chile and a Spanish team without Rafael Nadal.
Meanwhile defending champions Russia, who recently won their third Davis Cup crown by beating Croatia, are in the same group as Italy, Austria and hosts Australia.
Group A: Serbia, Norway, Chile Spain
Group B: Russia, Italy, Austria, Australia
Group C: Germany, Canada, Great Britain, USA
Group D: Greece, Poland, Argentina, Georgia