World No 1 Novak Djokovic’s has slammed the Australian Open’s mandatory Covid vaccination rules as “blackmail”, saying his son “probably won’t” defend his title Down Under.

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But Australian Open tournament chief Craig Tiley has said that all players must be inoculated to take part and Djokovic has recently refused to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against he virus.

“Of course he would want to go with all his heart,” Srdjan Djokovic told Serbian channel Prda TV.

“Because he is a sportsman and there are a lot of our people, the (Serbian) diaspora, there who would be delighted to see Novak.

“But I really don’t know if that will happen. Probably not under these conditions, with this blackmail and when it’s done that way.”

Srdjan also defended his son’s “exclusive and personal right” to be vaccinated or not, and claimed that even he did not know if Novak had received the jab.

Tiley recently revealed that Djokovic “has said that he views this as a private matter for himself”.

“We would love to see Novak here. He knows that he’ll have to be vaccinated to play here,” he added.

If he does end up going to Melbourne, Djokovic, who has won the Australian Open nine times, would be gunning for his 21st Grand Slam title. He currently shares the record with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (20).

Picture: Novak Djokovic – ATP Tour/Twitter