Aust Open deadline looming for Djokovic

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley says a December entry deadline will reveal if Novak Djokovic intends complying with a double vaccination requirement to play.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Nine-time champion Novak Djokovic will need to show his hand within weeks as tournament boss Craig Tiley confirmed the Australian Open would be the first tennis major to demand players be fully vaccinated.

All of the leading women, including titleholder Naomi Osaka and Australia's world No.1 Ash Barty, have committed to the January tournament, with Tiley expecting "very few, if any" players to boycott.

Speaking at the Australian Open launch on Saturday, Tiley said there had been "no pushback" from international players about last month's Victorian government mandate they be double vaccinated to play.

Tiley predicted it would be the new norm for tournaments in 2022.

The status of defending champion Djokovic remains unclear though and Tiley said the top-ranked Serbian understood he needed to be double vaccinated to play.

Djokovic shares the record of 20 men's grand slam singles titles with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer and will be looking to break that tie by winning a 10th Australian Open title.

Nadal has confirmed he will play at Melbourne Park while Federer is out following another round of knee surgery.

"We have been speaking to Novak and his team and they understand clearly that in order to come and play in the Australian Open they need to be fully vaccinated," Tiley said.

"They know that it's a condition for everyone, not just the players, but the fans and all the staff and he had indicated that it's a private decision for him and at the right time he will tell us.

"I know that he wants to play, he's clearly indicated that and he knows the conditions that he would have to undergo in order to be eligible to play."

Tiley said international players were currently going through the travel visa process with the Federal government while entry for the Open closes in December.

"Entry in here will be determined by around early to the middle of December on the entry deadline," Tiley said.

"In the next couple of weeks you will have really good indication of where everyone's at because at that point there's an official list of who's going to be here.

Tiley said seven-time champion Serena Williams had told him she would return to attempt to draw level with Margaret Court's record of 24 grand slam singles titles.

Osaka, who has not played since the US Open, has also confirmed she will be in Melbourne, while Australian star Barty started her preparation at her Queensland base this week.

Tiley said players had responded quickly after Victorian premier Daniel Andrews' double vaccination declaration.

"At that point there was only about 50 per cent of the players that had been travelling were vaccinated," he said.

"Over the last six weeks, that number's gone to well above 80 per cent and has continued to track towards 100 per cent."

Crowds will return to full capacity for the 2022 edition after fans this year were banned for five days due to a snap lockdown and limited through the event.

Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula also announced Melbourne Park will host the Australian Open until 2044 under a new deal negotiated with Tennis Australia.