Novak Djokovic anti-vax, Australian Open, Adelaide International

Novak Djokovic has copped a fresh blow with United States travel authorities extending the requirement for non-citizens to be vaccinated against COVID-19 until at least April 10 this year.

Leading tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg tweeted that meant that if Djokovic remained unvaccinated, it would mean another year of missing tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.

It could also affect the 21 time Grand Slam champion’s ability to play in the US Open after he was forced to miss last year’s tournament, won by Carlos Alcaraz.

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The news came after Serena Williams’ former coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, expressed fears that Djokovic would struggle with the burden of “emotional baggage” at the Australian Open.

The Serbian legend was sensationally deported from Australia before last year’s tournament after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic has been granted permission to play at this year’s Melbourne grand slam and received a warm welcome from the crowd in his first round win at the Adelaide International.

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But the pressure and media attention will ratchet up significantly when the Australian Open gets underway on January 16, as well as the return of some unhappy memories.

“It’s going to be tough for Novak in Australia, that’s for sure,” Mouratoglou told Eurosport.

“He going to carry a big emotional baggage. He’s been through so much, emotionally speaking. Nobody is immune. It’s going to be hard.

“I hope he doesn’t fall apart like he did at the US Open 2021 because there was too much. But it comes after probably a period where he has had a lot of rest.

“It’s the pre-season, it’s the off-season and there’s no stress of competition. So he’s going to be emotionally rested, which is good. And then he won’t start directly with the Australian Open, so he’ll have time to get used to the atmosphere there.”

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