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Williams to miss Australian Open, Djokovic on entry list

Men’s world number one Novak Djokovic has been named among the entries for the Australian Open on Wednesday, following intense speculation about his vaccination status, but women’s great Serena Williams was missing.

Djokovic, whose name was announced on Wednesday, has declined to disclose his vaccination status despite all players, officials, staff and fans at the January 17-30 tournament at Melbourne Park needing to be inoculated against Covid-19.

Local media reports said that everyone on the entry list needed to be vaccinated or have a medical exemption. Tennis Australia did not immediately reply to a request for confirmation of that rule.

Djokovic, who will be bidding for a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title if he plays at the tournament, said last week that he would be making a decision “very soon” about travelling to Australia.

To play in Sydney without being vaccinated, the state government would have to apply for an exemption for Djokovic and he would have to undergo 14 days quarantine upon arrival.

READ MORE: Unvaccinated players may not get visas to play in Australian Open

Williams absent due to injury

Twenty-three times Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams was absent as the entry list was announced on Wednesday.

Williams, who won the last of her seven Australian Open titles in 2017, had an injury-disrupted season and has not played since she limped out of her first-round match at Wimbledon in June due to the leg injury.

Tournament organiser Craig Tiley said last month that the 40-year-old American, who needs one more Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court’s record of 24, would be playing at Melbourne Park.

Her name was the most obvious omission from the field with 20-times Grand Slam champion Roger Federer having already confirmed that he would skip the event as he recovers from another round of knee surgeries.

READ MORE: Barty pulls out of WTA Finals to focus on Australian Open preparations

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