The 2021 season is over and by now the whole circuit is enjoying these mini holidays waiting for the Australian tour. In the first days of 2022 we will start with the ATP Cup, there will be several minor tournaments and at the end of the month there will be the long-awaited Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.
For the first time for a tennis tournament, athletes, as well as professionals and fans, will also have to have a vaccine requirement in order to play in the tournaments that will be played in Australia. Because of this some athletes see their presence in doubt and the first of these is the reigning champion and world number one Novak Djokovic.
Several times the Serbian has in the past questioned the situation regarding the vaccine and, even today, has not yet specified whether or not he has had the COVID-19 vaccine. In the last few hours, some good news had arrived, but now there was an abrupt and important slowdown.
The organizers of the Australian Open 2022 announced the entry list of the men's and women's tournament and in the men's one, with the exception of Roger Federer, all the best in the world were present. Novak Djokovic was also in the Entry List and the organizers themselves spoke of a certain presence of Nole ready to defend his title.
Tennis Australia director Craig Tiley slowed down and made important statements on the Entry List and on the number one in the world: "The official entry list of the tournament came out and Novak Djokovic was also present.
However, that was only a formality and all this does not mean that he will surely play the tournament." Once again the presence of Nole is questioned and by now only his answers regarding participation are awaited, answers that will undoubtedly arrive in the next weeks of 2021 and before the start of the Australian tour which should see Nole also protagonist in the ATP Cup.
Maria Sharapova: "I pray for Peng Shuai"
After the great solidarity of the whole tennis world towards Peng Shuai, the many voices that expressed support for the Chinese and the decision by the WTA to suspend all the tournaments scheduled in China and Hong Kong, Maria Sharapova also gave their opinion on the Chinese player's case.
Former world number 1 Maria Sharapova praised WTA CEO Steve Simon for taking an important stand against China and suspending all scheduled tournaments in China next year. Sharapova told CNBC, as she revealed on Tennishead: "She was my colleague and rival.
Of course I hope and pray that you and her family are safe and well." The former Russian tennis player then commented on the WTA's decision to suspend tournaments in China until verifiable proof is obtained that Peng Shuai is safe and sound.
"I was incredibly impressed with how the WTA took a stand. It was an organization that I was a part of for many years, so seeing Steve Simon doing the right thing was wonderful," said Sharapova, who greatly admires the fact that the WTA puts people ahead of money and business.
For weeks now, the association has shown that it is seriously concerned about Peng's health and well-being. "Unfortunately, the leadership in China has not addressed this very serious problem in a credible way. While we now know where Peng is, I have serious doubts that she is free, safe and not subject to censorship, coercion and intimidation.
The WTA has been clear about what is needed here, and we repeat our call for a full and transparent investigation, uncensored, into Peng Shuai's assault allegation," said WTA CEO Stece Simon in a statement, concluding then underlining that: "None of this is acceptable, nor can it become.
If powerful people can suppress women's voices and sweep allegations of sexual assault under the carpet, then the foundation on which the WTA was founded, equality for women, would suffer an immense setback. I don't want and can't allow this to happen to the WTA and its players."