SINGAPORE – International Tennis Federation chief David Haggerty confirmed on Tuesday that Novak Djokovic will need to be vaccinated before attempting to compete in the Australian Open following the ongoing recurrence of his long-standing right elbow injury.
The Serbian world No. 3 pulled out of the Shanghai Masters last month due to the injury, and earlier this month refused to rule out a potential comeback in January to defend his Australian Open title.
Djokovic, who ended 2017 ranked No. 3 in the world behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, was set to return in December at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship tournament in Abu Dhabi, but he has suffered another setback and will be forced to take time out to recover.
“Novak has been advised that he needs to take some time out so that he can receive regular medical attention and recover his physical strength and mobility from his current injury,” Haggerty said.
“This does not rule out a possible return to competition next year, however, his treatment is designed to make sure he can come back in the best possible condition.
“Along with the World Tennis Council, we will continue to support Novak and his team throughout this difficult period.”
Haggerty revealed that while the withdrawal of Djokovic was not uncommon in professional sport, it was still disappointing.
“We are used to seeing players come and go from the Tour all the time,” he said.
“We support each of the players at every point in their career, and we wish Novak every success as he continues to fight his injury.”