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‘Not our favourite’: Karl blasts Novak Djokovic over vaccine saga

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Channel Nine identity Karl Stefanovic has taken a swipe at Novak Djokovic over the controversial vaccine debate that threatens the World No.1’s participation at the Australian Open.

Djokovic – the 20-time grand slam champion and defending Australian Open champion – revealed he would rather miss the grand slam than prove his vaccination status.

Unvaccinated stars will likely be banned from competing at the Melbourne tournament as Victoria recovers from a third wave of coronavirus.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes competing in domestic sporting leagues and has hinted tennis stars who haven’t been double jabbed may not be granted entry to the state.

Immigration Minister Alex Hawke also confirmed on Wednesday that Djokovic would not be allowed into Australia unless he was double-vaccinated.

Djokovic – who has admitted his opposition to vaccinations in the past – this week refused to confirm or deny whether he’s had a Covid-19 jab.

“Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic told the online edition of Serbian daily Blic.

“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

“People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person.

“Whatever you say ‘yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it’, they will take advantage.”

The issue has sparked plenty of debate, with Today Show co-host Stefanovic the latest to take aim at the Serbian superstar after supporting Victoria’s stance.

Novak Djokovic's (pictured) vaccine status is unknown. (Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic’s (pictured) vaccine status is unknown. (Getty Images)
“You’re going to have people going to the Australian Open tennis tournament, which is going to be incredible,” Stefanovic said.

“A shame not to have him there. You’ll have double vaccinated people in the crowd, you can’t let him in.

“He is not our favourite anyway.”

Co-host Allison Langdon added: “He is not well liked, is he?”

Victoria’s premier said unvaccinated players would be unlikely to receive a visa to enter Australia and, if they were, they would likely have to complete two weeks of quarantine.

Record quest could dictate Novak Djokovic decision
However, tennis commentator and coach Roger Rasheed doubts Djokovic will miss the Australian Open and says there is plenty of time for circumstances to change.

“I think it’s a given that (Novak Djokovic) will be here in January,” Rasheed said on SEN Sportsday.

“We’ll get to a vaccination rate here in Australia by then; the circumstances are going to change in the next few weeks. We’re getting closer and closer to unravelling everything and the circumstances will be different by the end of the year.

“Novak is probably only interested in what’s happening towards the end of December, because those conditions will probably dictate how it works when he gets into Australia.

“He wants to break the record, it would be brilliant for us to have it in Australia and we’d want to have him break that record here as that’s something that will stand up in world sport.”

One of the reasons why people find it hard to believe Djokovic would willingly miss the Australian Open is his desire to stand alone at the pinnacle of men’s tennis.

Djokovic has won the Australian Open a record nine times and would be heavy favourite to take his tally into double digits.

The added incentive to overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the grand slam title race also looms as irresistible factor for the Serb.

The absence of Djokovic in Melbourne, couple with doubts over whether Federer plays, would give Nadal a terrific chance win a record-breaking 21st men’s major.

“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament,” Djokovic said.

“I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.

“I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open and I understand the final decision (on Covid-19 related restrictions) will be made in two weeks.

“I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.

“My manager, who is in contact with the Australian tennis federation, tells me they are trying to improve the conditions for everyone, both for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.”

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Kate Middleton’s anger at Prince William over his lifestyle: ‘Making me look bad’

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KATE MIDDLETON was left furious with Prince William after he was pictured dancing on a podium alongside another woman just days after another encounter in a nightclub.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced Kate will host a charity Christmas carol service at Westminster Abbey next week. Taking place on December 8, the event will be televised in the lead up to Christmas. Kate and William’s increasingly integral role within the Royal Family has also shown the strength of their relationship. Earlier this year, the Cambridges celebrated 10 years of marriage. They didn’t reach the milestone without challenging moments, however, as highlighted by a 2007 report.

It claimed that William had been seen dancing on a podium in Bournemouth, attracting the attention of another woman.

This came just days after newspaper reports claimed William was seen sharing an embrace with a woman while on a “boys’ night out” in Boujis, London.

The newspaper quoted a friend of Kate’s who said the Duchess sent a warning to William.

The friend said: “Kate told William that he was making her look bad.

“She has coped for years with girls flinging themselves at her boyfriend and, for a while, she found it humorous and even flattering.

“But after his recent behaviour she gave him an ultimatum and told him that every time he behaved like that in public he was cheapening her image as well as his own.

Kate Middleton news: William and Kate have taken on a big role in the Firm
“She told him she wasn’t prepared to be treated like a doormat and that his carefree behaviour was affecting her image.

“She gave him quite a pasting. In the past, she had always let go of things like that, but this really bothered her.”

A family friend of Kate’s added: “Kate rose above all the rumours and just laughed them off, but something recently snapped in her.

“She was irritated when she read about his flirting in Bournemouth and she wasn’t best pleased to hear about the blonde he ended up with on the dance floor at Boujis.”

Kate and William endured a tough year in 2007 when they briefly split.

Reports from April 2007 also claim that William broke up with Kate via a phone call that she received while at work.

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Naughty Boy’s unfortunate Meghan Markle error: ‘This is the future’

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NAUGHTY BOY made a bold prediction about Meghan Markle’s place in the Royal Family, which sadly turned out to be far from the truth.

Naughty Boy, the music producer who is best known for hits such as Runnin’ and La La La, is already getting stuck into bushtucker trials as he stars in I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! He has also clashed with fellow campmate Kadeena Cox over cooking duties as the show begins in dramatic fashion. Naughty boy, whose real name is Shahid Khan, is used to keeping company with big stars, including members of the Royal Family. In February 2018, Naughty Boy performed for royalty as Prince Charles and Camilla hosted a gala dinner for the British Asian Trust.

He admitted he was “petrified” ahead of a performance for the royal couple at Buckingham Palace.

Naughty Boy said: “I was really petrified initially because there’s so much powerful energy here, but it felt right that I should be doing this.”

The DJ said: “I think this is part of the future. The whole culture is shifting to accepting just everything. For the Royal Family to spearhead that ‒ I think that’s amazing.”

Meghan’s life in the Royal Family was far from idyllic, however, as two years of regular criticism and tensions within the family culminated in the Sussexes leaving royal duties behind in 2020.

Meghan and Prince Harry later spoke about their life in the Royal Family with Oprah Winfrey.

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Will Andy Murray retire from tennis?

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After producing a 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 comeback against Oscar Otte on Wednesday, a match played under the centre court lights with a sense of nostalgia, Andy Murray then bowed out of Wimbledon with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Denis Shapovalov on Friday.

That loss once again raised the matter of his retirement. Murray almost retired once, but fought back from undergoing surgeries in 2018 and in 2019, operations that mean he now plays with a metal hip

t had seemed that the Scot was set to retire in 2019, so much so that a farewell video was prepared with messages from tennis legends and the other members of what had been ‘The Big Four’. That came as a shock to the three-time Grand Slam champion as he had never officially stated he’d hang up his racket. But, it did appear that the end was near.

His return at Wimbledon 2021
Murray was able to fight back from his injury nightmare, playing well in doubles and even winning another ATP men’s singles title at the 2019 European Open, his first since March of 2017.

Through a wildcard, he was able to enter Wimbledon in 2021 and spoke ahead of the tournament about how excited he was.

“A few years ago, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play there ever again,” he told GQ.

“So, even though the last 18 months have been difficult from a tennis perspective, I’ve still been able to play a little bit.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t been at the level that I want as consistently as I wanted to, because of the injuries, but then again before the hip operation I also had come to terms with the fact that I might never play tennis again. So it’s been hard.

“But I’m still excited to be out there and getting the chance to compete in events such as Wimbledon.”

Murray hints at retirement
After bowing out of Wimbledon in the third round, though, Murray was more pessimistic when asked about his future.

“There is a part of me that feels a bit like I have put in so much work the last three months and, you know, ultimately I didn’t play how I would want and expect,” he said after his loss to Shapovalov.

“So, it’s like, is it worth it?”

MÁS EN MARCA

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