Novak Djokovic’s participation in next year’s Australian Open is again in doubt after a top state official insisted unvaccinated players would not get special dispensation to play in the year’s first Grand Slam.

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A leaked email earlier this week suggested that players who were not inoculated against the coronavirus would be able to take part as long as they completed 14 days’ quarantine.

This would have allowed Djokovic, who recently refused to state whether he will be vaccinated, free to defend his title.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that unvaccinated players would be permitted to enter the country if they received an exemption, which the host state Victoria would need to apply for on behalf of players.

However, Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews has now ruled that out.

“We are locking people who are unvaccinated out of pubs, cafes, restaurants and the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and all sorts of other events,” he said, as quoted by AFP.

“We’re not going to be applying for an exemption. Therefore, the issue is basically resolved.”

Australia’s federal government controls the country’s border and issues visas. But during the pandemic state governments have run quarantine facilities and imposed vaccine mandates, making it unclear who will get the final say on the Australian Open rules.

The latest revelation leaves renewed doubt over whether nine-time champion Djokovic will head Down Under early next year.

The Serb is currently tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the most Grand Slam titles (20) won.

Picture: Novak Djokovic/Twitter