Novak Djokovic's dad has described the decision to only allow vaccinated players to take part in the Australian Open as 'blackmail.'
Srdjan Djokovic, no stranger to being outspoken, has said his son 'probably' wouldn't be defending his title in Melbourne despite being just one Grand Slam win away from a record-breaking 21st title.
This month Craig Tiley, CEO of Tennis Australia, confirmed that all male and female players will only be allowed to participate in the tournament in January if they are vaccinated against Covid-19.
Djokovic, 34, has long refused to disclose his vaccination status, a stance which has been widely seen as an admission that he's yet to receive his jabs.
The world no 1 has held talks with Tiley, but has since reiterated his views over 'freedom of choice', and is reportedly livid at the mandate being imposed upon ATP and WTA players.
And now his father has leapt to his defence, telling TV Prava "Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won't play.
"I wouldn't do that, and he's my son, so you figure out for yourself if he is going to play or not."
The views of Djokovic junior during the Covid-19 pandemic have come under intense scrutiny, and during the ATP's shutdown after he publicly declared he opposed the concept of the vaccine being mandatory.
He then caused outrage in June 2020 by organising The Adria Tour, an exhibition event held in June 2020 in Belgrade, Serbia and Zadar, Croatia, which allowed full crowds and didn't impose any rules on social distancing.
In-between matches, players socialised together and even partied in nightclubs.
The tournament could not be played to completion though after a number of players tested positive for Covid-19, including Djokovic himself, his wife Jelena, and his coach Goran Ivanisevic - and the star was later forced to apologise and admit he was wrong to set-up the event.
Tiley meanwhile, has claimed the requirements in place for the Australian Open will encourage more professional players to get vaccinated.
He told radio station SEN last week that around 85% of professional players were now double-jabbed.
"And we take a lot of credit for that because we put a vaccination requirement on it," he said.
"We think by the time we get to January it will be between 90-95% vaccinated because if you're not, you cannot play."