Tennis Update: Novak Djokovic Set to Decide on Australian Open Participation
Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
Novak Djokovic has announced that he will make his decision on his participation at the Grand Slam tournament “very soon”. His decision is very much anticipated in the men’s tennis circuit as this may shake up the sports betting world as it will become an even playing field if the Serbian decides against playing in the first Grand Slam tournament of 2022. Novak Djokovic, who tested positive for coronavirus in June 2020, has not revealed his vaccination status to the world. It also caused concern from the organizers because they require fully-vaccinated players only.
Amazing 2021 season with Novak Djokovic
The 34-year-old played his last tournament of the year on Friday in the Davis Cup, representing Serbia. Despite helping his team barge into the semifinals, Djokovic and his countrymen fell short to Croatia, 1-2. However, he kept his unbeaten streak in the men’s singles intact as he defeated Marin Cilic, 6-4 6-2, in the first singles match. The victory stretched his winning run to 19 games. His last men’s singles defeat in this prestigious team event was in 2011. Overall, he stood as the world’s best tennis player of the year, snaring three of the season’s four Grand Slams to be equal to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time list with 20 Slams.
Novak Djokovic could have made it four of four had he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final. He also missed out on the Tokyo Olympic gold medal. More importantly, he ended 2021 claiming the year-ending world number one seed for a record seventh time on Monday. He will mark his 350th week at the top spot of the world rankings. Djokovic also has amassed a record 37 ATP Masters titles in his career.
Hanging in the balance
The Serbian netter has a month and a half to prepare and decide whether he will take part in the Grand Slam event on January 17, 2022, in Melbourne, or stay behind and wait for the next major tennis event. All he has to do is to disclose his current status to the Australian Open organizers so that they will allow him or not to compete in the tournament. The pandemic has affected the sports world on how the hosts implement their health and safety protocols for athletes to keep the city or country free from COVID-19. The ball is right now on Novak Djokovic’s court and the time to decide on whether he will reveal his status or not is almost up.
WTA suspends all tournaments in China
Meanwhile, the Women’s Tennis Association has decided to suspend all tournaments scheduled in China. This is due to the issue concerning Chinese doubles star Peng Shuai. The tour’s board of directors backed the decision according to WTA chairman Steve Simon. Researchers expect the situation to cost the women’s tour hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. But for them, the welfare of the female tennis stars is at the top priority. Simon expressed concern over the risks that the players might face if they play in China next year. The WTA declaration came in weeks after Peng alleged Zhang Gaoli of forcing her into sex during their relationship.
Last month, social media was posted on with the accusation. However, it was later on removed on the Chinese Internet. Peng disappeared from the public eye for weeks. The Chinese tennis star, however, resurfaced and was photographed at a tennis event in Beijing. He also had a video conversation with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach on November 21. Simon also called for a “full and transparent” probe over the issue and urged the Chinese government not to censor the proceedings if they plan to organize one.
Effects of the suspension
The suspension of tennis matches could cost a great fortune for the WTA. This year, the East Asian nation and the WTA agreed to organize 11 tournaments. But they were relocated or canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. The events are expected to give billions of dollars to the women’s tennis sanctioning body. A ton of fans will watch the matches live either on television or in the stadiums. In 2019, China hosted 10 events with total prize money breaching USD30 million.
The sanctioning body and the women’s tennis stars who look to earn money and additional ranking points expect the suspension of WTA events in China to be costly. This will also disappoint millions of Chinese and Asian sports enthusiasts betting on tennis action because there is a possibility that some of the events planned for China will either be relocated or canceled due to the political situation there. The WTA hopes the situation there will be resolved quickly for the lucrative events to be held again in China.