Written by Staff Writer by Sabahun Bhuiyan, CNN
Barely a week after beating Roger Federer for the first time at the Shanghai Masters, Novak Djokovic is facing a negative statement in the New York Times from an official close to the International Tennis Federation that he will need to be given a vaccination before playing at the Australian Open.
Last month, the 31-year-old Serb was diagnosed with an acute respiratory illness which he revealed to doctors and has since had time off to recover.
Further hearing that Djokovic will require more time off, and may even require a cold-shot vaccine to be ready for the Australian Open, the politician told the Times that it was “unheard of.”
“We should be fairly cautious if this is going to be a recurring thing,” she said.
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic. Credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Djokovic’s representative Paolo Pantaleone denied the claims, arguing that the Times was “using inappropriate wording for what is not actually an ’emergency’ in tennis.”
Despite not even having his final 2016 ranking ranking under control, he jumped four spots to 21st in the latest Tennis Databank rankings released Tuesday. He is also gaining ground on world number one Rafael Nadal.
He told the Times that he is feeling better now than he did during the 2012 season, when he had a second surgery on his elbow.
“At the moment, I feel like I’m back on track,” Djokovic said, adding that the Aussie Open would be his “first goal” this season.
The Times report, which arrived at a time when the pair of world’s top players are beset by injuries, precedes Roger Federer’s announcement that he will be missing Australia’s opening Grand Slam of the year and will only return to action at next month’s US Open.
The two six-time major winners joined Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka at last year’s Australian Open.