Djokovic is as established in Australia as Roger Federer
Australia’s mandatory vaccination policy for students is not to “blackmail” Novak Djokovic, the minister for sport has said.
The Serbian world number two and Australian Open champion was asked not to play in next week’s Kooyong Classic and over a fundraising event during the Adelaide International this month.
Djokovic did not commit to the Kooyong event on medical advice and a promotional event.
Sports Minister Tanya Plibersek said the policy had been used as a “political stunt”.
“If you say you’ve got to have up to 92% vaccination coverage by a particular age group then some of the issues that are coming up around vaccinations are going to be somewhat different in that context,” she said.
Djokovic, 30, skipped a ranking points tournament in Dubai this month after contracting a shoulder problem while practising in April.
He returned for the Madrid Open, reaching the semi-finals but lost to Roger Federer.
The 2015 Australian Open champion won the Davis Cup for Serbia in April.
The Djokovic case is not the first that has caused international tension around the mandatory regime.
In 2015, Serena Williams protested against a rule that forced players to wear protective gear in some matches.
The world number one played in Rome that year without the faceguards, partly because of a foot injury.