Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic will get the COVID-19 vaccine, his biographer has sensationally claimed.
Author Daniel Muksch says watching Rafael Nadal become the most successful men’s player of all time by winning the Australian Open has prompted the backflip.
Watch the video above for more on Novak’s vaccine backflip
The world No.1 Djokovic was forced to miss last month’s grand slam in Melbourne after being deported due to his unvaccinated status.
Nadal’s win over Daniil Medvedev allowed the Spaniard to overtake rivals Djokovic and Roger Federer as the first to have won 21 major tournaments in their career.
Mr Muksch, who has penned A Lifetime At War, a book chronicling the life of the 20-time grand slam champion that comes out later this year, told Servus TV, Djokovic is likely keen to get the jab so he does not miss anymore opportunities to compete.
“From what I have heard from those around him, I think he is getting vaccinated,” Muksch reportedly told the Austrian TV station.
“Maybe the final in Melbourne also contributed to that.
“Rafael Nadal’s 21 is driving him, no question.”
Djokovic has not spoken publicly since his legal bid to stay in Australia failed and he was sent packing in mid-January.
He initially flew home to Serbia but has since been photographed on a trip to Montenegro.
The 34-year-old is scheduled to play at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, which does not require player to be vaccinated when it begins on February 21.
However, that tournament is the exception, not the rule, with Djokovic likely to find his future playing options severely limited if he continues to avoid the needle.
France has already indicated that all players hoping to compete at Rolland Garros in May must be jabbed.
Watch Health Minister Greg Hunt react to Novak’s backflip below
Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt told Sunrise he was “delighted” to hear Novak might get the jab.
“Look, I’m happy for anybody anywhere to be vaccinated and if in some small way as a country we have encouraged Novak or any other individual to do that then that’s great,” he said.
“But you know what’s much more important? I think that will encourage more people who have been hesitant to be vaccinated and that would be the real win out of this.
“I hadn’t heard that. I’m delighted if that is the case.
“But to everybody, doesn’t matter where you are, whether you are overseas or in Australia, first dose, second dose, booster, everything you are eligible for, it will help protect you. Please come forward.”
What has Novak said about vaccination?
Djokovic admitted in court documents when appealing the federal government’s deportation decision that he was not vaccinated.
However, he has not revealed the exact reasons why.
In April 2020, he said that he was “opposed to vaccination”.
He later clarified his position by adding that he was “no expert” and would keep an “open mind” but wanted to have “an option to choose what’s best for my body.”
During a Facebook live, he explained that he “wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine” to travel or compete in tournaments.
He added that he was “curious about wellbeing and how we can empower our metabolism to be in the best shape to defend against imposters like COVID-19.”
Fake COVID infection claim shot down
It comes after Serbian officials rejected reports that Novak Djokovic used a fake positive test for COVID-19 to try to enter Australia and defend his Australian Open title.
The nation’s prosecution office said in a statement on Wednesday that it had received a request for criminal proceedings against unnamed individuals who allegedly forged two PCR certificates, which were later used by Djokovic to apply for a medical exemption from vaccination when entering Australia.
“The prosecution acted according to the regulations, checks were performed, and it was determined that Novak Djokovic was tested several times and that the certificates on the test results from December 16, 2021 and December 22, 2021 are valid,” the statement said.
It had been reported discrepancies in the serial numbers of the tests Serbian authorities administered to the top-ranked Djokovic ahead of his trip to Australia, suggesting possible irregularities in the way they were issued.
The tennis superstar was deported from the country and barred from playing in the Australian Open last month after an 11-day visa saga on the eve of the tournament because he failed to meet strict COVID-19 vaccination requirements.
To enter Australia, he had submitted a positive COVID-19 test issued in Serbia on December 16 for a visa exemption on the grounds that he had recently recovered from the virus.
The 34-year-old player is not vaccinated and the Australian government later decided to cancel his visa and deport Djokovic, saying his presence in Australia could stir anti-vaccination sentiments.
– With AAP