Nick Kyrgios believes the Australian Open should be cancelled as he threw his support behind rival Novak Djokovic, insisting the COVID-19 vaccine mandate is "morally wrong".

It remains to be seen whether world number one Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne in January due to vaccination requirements.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Djokovic was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced.

Kyrgios and Djokovic have clashed in the past, but the former backed the nine-time Australian Open champion as he called for the upcoming grand slam to be scrapped.

"I don't think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message," Australian former world number 13 Kyrgios said on his 'No Boundaries' podcast.

"How long did [Melbourne] do in lockdown? 275 days or something?"

Kyrgios also referenced Brooklyn Nets star and NBA champion Kyrie Irving, who is yet to feature this season due to his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which is preventing him from practicing or playing – New York has a mandate in place that states players must have had a COVID-19 jab.

Kyrgios – an Australian Open quarter-finalist in 2015 – added: "Kyrie, Novak … These guys have given so much, sacrificed so much. They are global athletes who millions of people look up to.

"I just think it is so morally wrong to force someone to be vaccinated.

"I'm double vaccinated, but I just don't think it's right to force anyone [to be vaccinated] and say 'you can't come and play here because you're not vaccinated'.

"There are other solutions around it, [such as] to get tested every day. In the [United] States I know they've got rapid tests, and it's coming to Australia. It's 85 per cent success rate, you wait 15 minutes and then you're allowed to play."

Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula hit back on Tuesday, telling reporters: "I really like Nick Kyrgios and I cheer for him every time he plays and I certainly don't want to have beef with Nick Kyrgios but I actually couldn't follow the logic of his comments. We've had a long lockdown so the Australian Open shouldn't proceed? I'm not sure I follow that.

"I think the opposite applies. Melburnians, Victorians and, frankly all Australians, are absolutely gagging for major events. Our economy needs it, our state psyche needs it. It's a global grand slam, it's going to go ahead."

Novak Djokovic claimed his sixth Paris Masters title on Sunday, overcoming Daniil Medvedev and gaining revenge for his defeat in the US Open final in the process.

Prior to this week's Masters 1000 event, Djokovic had not played since going down 6-4 6-4 6-4 to world number two Medvedev at Flushing Meadows in September.

That defeat ended Djokovic's hopes of sealing a calendar Grand Slam, but he was in fine form this week as he regained the title he last won in 2019, having not played in the competition last year.

Defending champion Medvedev started the final brilliantly, but Djokovic rallied to win 4-6 6-3 6-3, claiming a record-setting 37th Masters title in the process.

And the world number one explained how he learned from the mistakes he made in New York to prevail this time around, taking his head-to-head record with Medvedev to 6-4 in the process.

"I went back and reviewed the final of the US Open to see what I did wrong and what I did right," Djokovic told the Tennis Channel.

"I tried to read the patterns of his serve and the ball toss, maybe. I tried to look for the small details, because it was a match of small margins."

Reflecting on the showdown in Paris, Djokovic added: "He started better, broke my serve in the first game and I came back. He served the first set out pretty comfortably, but I felt as if I was there.

"I thought it was only a matter of time when I was going to read his serve better and start to make some plays.

"You can't go through him. You have to find a way to play with controlled aggression, play the right shots at the right time and make him come in. It's variety that wins matches against him. We both suffered on the court and there was a lot of gruelling rallies."

Djokovic, who had already secured a record seventh year-end number one, has won 49 matches in 2021, losing on just six occasions.

Novak Djokovic came from a set down to defeat Daniil Medvedev 4-6 6-3 6-3 and win the Paris Masters on Sunday.

Djokovic lost to Medvedev in the US Open final in September, with that defeat ending his hopes of a calendar Grand Slam.

But the Serbian, whose semi-final win over Hubert Hurkacz ensured he will be the year-end world number one for a record seventh time, got his revenge in France.

It marks a fifth title of the year and a sixth triumph at this event for Djokovic, who did not compete in the tournament last year – Medvedev winning it in his place.

The 34-year-old had it far from his own way, with Medvedev instantly going a break up, and although Djokovic hit back to draw level at 2-2, the world number two held off a second break point before nosing himself ahead at 4-3.

Yet having served out the first set at the first time of asking, the US Open champion slipped up in the fourth game of the second as Djokovic reeled off some superb returns, and he did not look back.

With the momentum and crowd on his side, Djokovic broke Medvedev twice in quick succession in the decider, and although he was denied claiming the win on his serve, it merely delayed the inevitable.

Medvedev's powerful serve was not enough, with Djokovic keeping his composure to seal a record-setting 37th Masters 1000 title with a sublime forehand into the corner of the court following a draining rally.

Novak Djokovic will wait until he is retired to assess his stunning feats but recognises rankings records as "the paramount achievement of our sport".

The Serbian will finish the year as the world number one for a seventh time, a new record having previously been tied with Pete Sampras on six.

Djokovic, who also leads the way with 345 weeks at the top all-time, secured his position by advancing to the Paris Masters final with a last-four win over Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday.

"Every achievement is special," said the 20-time major champion. "I try to make myself aware of the fact that I am in a very unique position.

"It's difficult for me to understand the magnitude of these achievements, not just for myself but for the sport while I'm still [an] active player.

"Probably when I retire, I'll be able to reflect on that a little bit more and appreciate it a little bit more.

"Of course I'm very appreciative and grateful for it now, but what is the next challenge is always in your mind while you're an active player. It's constantly another task, another tournament.

"So [I] don't have really much time to enjoy the success, so to say, because you always have to turn the next page."

However, he added: "Being historically [the] number one-ranked player in the world is probably the paramount achievement of our sport.

"Also, finishing the season as year-end number one requires full commitment throughout the entire year and consistency and playing the best tennis in the biggest events, which accumulate the most points that enable you to be highly ranked. So that's what I have done this year."

Djokovic will have his work cut out as he pursues a 37th Masters 1000 title, now facing Daniil Medvedev, the man who denied him the calendar Grand Slam in the US Open final.

"The job is not done," added Djokovic. "Obviously reaching the finals of one of the biggest tournaments that we have in our sport on our tour is something that stands out regardless of the year-end achievement that is completed.

"So hopefully going to have another great match and then take it from there.

"For now I am just proud and extremely happy. Obviously that was one of the biggest goals and it's always one of the biggest goals, to try to be number one and end the season as number one.

"To do it for the record seventh time and surpass my childhood idol and role model, Pete, is incredible. Very grateful, very blessed to be in this position.

“I wasn't bored without tennis, but I like competing so I was looking forward to coming to Paris and the biggest reason coming here was to clinch the year-end number one.

"Now that I managed to do it, it's a huge relief, as well."

Defending champion Daniil Medvedev set up a showdown with Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters final after dismissing Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

The Russian, who downed Djokovic in the final of this year's US Open, was at his imperious best to see off Zverev 6-2 6-2 in the French capital.

He will now attempt to deny Djokovic a sixth title at the ATP 1000 event on Sunday, while seeking to etch his own name onto the trophy for a second year running.

World number two Medvedev, who overcame Zverev in the final of this event in 2020, ended the German's run of eight consecutive victories in style.

It took just 80 minutes for Medvedev to get the job done, his flat groundstrokes posing questions that Zverev had no answers to.

While Zverev did apply some pressure by forcing his rival to face three break points, Medvedev was cool under pressure as he held serve throughout the contest.

This triumph drew Medvedev level at 5-5 in the pair's head-to-head record.

He will likely face a sterner test against Djokovic, whose come-from-behind win over Hubert Hurkacz ensured he will claim the year-end number one ranking for a record seventh time.

On Sunday, he will bid to set another record by moving ahead of Rafael Nadal to reach 37 titles in Masters 1000 tournaments.

Novak Djokovic moved one step away from a sixth Paris Masters title by beating Hubert Hurkacz, guaranteeing himself the year-end number one ranking for a record seventh time.

The Serbian great is looking to get back to title-winning ways in his first tournament since September, when his hopes of a calendar Grand Slam were snuffed out by Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final.

He was pushed all the way to a deciding set tie-break by world number 10 Hurkacz, the player who beat Roger Federer at Wimbledon amid his breakout year.

But Djokovic had just enough in the tank to complete a 3-6 6-0 7-6 (7-5) semi-final victory, thumping his chest in relief and exhilaration as he got across the winning line.

On Sunday, he will bid to set another record by moving ahead of Rafael Nadal to reach 37 titles in Masters 1000 tournaments.

Saturday's success guarantees Djokovic will end the season on top of the ATP rankings for a record-breaking seventh time – Pete Sampras drops to second on the list with six years at the top.

Hurkacz broke serve in the eighth game of the first set and closed it out, only to surrender meekly in the second.

Djokovic broke to lead 3-1 in the decider, but a spirited Hurkacz recovered the break with a booming forehand into Djokovic's backhand corner in the seventh game.

The Polish player staved off a match point when serving at 5-4, getting somewhat lucky when a Djokovic passing shot landed just wide.

A tense tie-break swung Djokovic's way when Hurkacz lashed a forehand into the net at 5-5, and a backhand volley from the Miami Masters champion landed just wide on match point.

In the title match, Djokovic will tackle the winner of the second semi-final between Medvedev versus Alexander Zverev.

Novak Djokovic says he has room to improve despite easing past Taylor Fritz in straight sets to reach the semi-finals of the Paris Masters.

The world number one is competing in his first tournament since his dream of winning a calendar Grand Slam was ended by Daniil Medvedev in September's US Open final.

After beating Marton Fucsovics in three sets and then benefiting from a walkover against Gael Monfils in the last 16, Djokovic made light work of Fritz in Friday's quarter-final.

He sent down eight aces and was successful with 72 per cent of his first serves that landed on his way to a 6-4 6-3 victory.

However, Djokovic lost his serve on three occasions and, while happy with his overall display, the Serbian feels like there is more to come from his game in the French capital.

"I was absent from the tour for two months coming into this tournament," he said. "The last competitive match I played was in the US Open final, compared to the other guys playing one or two events prior to Paris.

"I knew that I needed to start well, with good intensity and put in a lot of hours on the practice court. But it's different when you play points in a competitive match.

"I am pleased with the way I played against Fucsovics and again today, though I did have ups and downs. I am not entirely pleased with the way I closed out the sets.

"I backed myself up with good returns and read Taylor's serve very well to get into rallies. I closed out the last couple of service games well and that's a positive."

Djokovic is aiming to win the Paris Masters for a record-extending sixth time in his bid to end the year as world number one for a record seventh occasion.

The Serbian will contest his 71st career Masters 1000 semi-final – four short of Rafael Nadal's record – against Hubert Hurkacz, who saw off James Duckworth 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 7-5.

With that victory, the world number 10 clinched the final singles spot at the ATP Finals in Turin later this month.

Hurkacz is the second Polish player to qualify for the event after Wojtek Fibak in 1976. It also means only European players will feature in the ATP and WTA Finals for the first time ever.

Saturday's other semi-final in Paris will be contested between Djokovic's US Open conqueror Medvedev and Olympic gold medallist Alexander Zverev.

Home favourite Hugo Gaston eliminated Pablo Carreno Busta earlier in the tournament but was always likely to face a tougher task against Medvedev.

So it proved, with the qualifier going down 7-6 (9-7) 6-4 in a match that saw Medvedev hit 13 aces to his opponent's one.

"When the atmosphere is against you, you need to face it," Medvedev said. "You need to try to win, no matter what.

"Even when it is against me, I think, 'I will try to beat my opponent and the crowd' because there is no other choice."

Zverev kept his momentum going with a 7-5 6-4 win over Casper Ruud in Friday's final contest, as he made it eight wins on the bounce.

The German held serve throughout, while breaking his opponent twice, to remain on course for a sixth final of 2021.

Alexander Zverev was given a thorough examination of his Paris Masters credentials by Grigor Dimitrov, but the fourth seed progressed nonetheless to reach the last eight.

Zverev, who last in last year's final, saw match points slip from his grasp in the second set as Dimitrov levelled the match, however, he eventually prevailed on Thursday.

World number one Novak Djokovic benefited from a walkover, while Daniil Medvedev also moved through to the quarter-finals of the ATP Masters 1000 event.

Zverev outlasts Dimitrov

Olympic Games gold medallist Zverev had to dig deep for his 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 win over former world number three Dimitrov.

It was Zverev's seventh win on the bounce, but he was well aware of just how deep he had to dig to see off a resilient Dimitrov.

"Incredible match," Zverev, who won a fifth tour title of the year last week at the Vienna Open, said afterwards. "Grigor is playing very high-level tennis and I had to leave everything out there.

"I think it was a very high-level match and it could have gone both ways, especially the third set. I am happy with how things went in the end."

Djokovic moves through without playing

There was no such ordeal for top seed Djokovic, however.

Djokovic – a 20-time grand slam champion – received a walkover after Gael Monfils was advised not to continue with the tournament due to an adductor issue sustained in his previous win over Adrian Mannarino.

Taylor Fritz awaits five-time Paris champion Djokovic after the American saw off 10th seed Norrie 6-3 7-6 (7-3), while Casper Ruud will tussle with Zverev.

Ruud's emphatic 6-2 6-1 demolition of Marcos Giron clinched a historic achievement for the 22-year-old – who became the first Norwegian to qualify for the ATP Finals at the end of a breakthrough year in which no player can better his five tour-level titles.

Hubert Hurkacz did his chances of joining Ruud in Turin no harm as the Polish seventh seed – who holds the last automatic qualifying berth – fought back to defeat Dominik Koepfer 4-6 7-5 6-2 and set up a meeting with James Duckworth, who beat Alexei Popyrin 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

Second seed and US Open champion Medvedev was another who had to come from behind before ultimately seeing off Sebastian Korda 4-6 6-1 6-3.

He will go up against Hugo Gaston, who became the first French qualifier to reach the Paris Masters quarter-finals since 1990 with his win over Carlos Alcaraz.

Gael Monfils has withdrawn from the Paris Masters due to an adductor problem, handing world number one Novak Djokovic a walkover into the quarter-finals.

Djokovic has played only once on the ATP Tour since losing the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev on September 12.

That defeat at Flushing Meadows ended Djokovic's hopes of achieving a calendar Grand Slam, though the Serbian has returned to action for the final few weeks of the 2021 season.

With the ATP Finals coming up, Djokovic headed to Paris looking to regain the title he claimed in his last appearance in the tournament back in 2019. He needed three sets, but overcame Marton Fucsovics 6-2 4-6 6-3 in his first match.

He has won the Paris Masters on five occasions and is the top seed this time around, with defending champion Medvedev seeded second. 

Monfils, seeded 15th, beat Miomir Kecmanovic and Adrian Mannarino en route to the last 16, but confirmed to the media on Thursday that he had been advised not to continue.

Djokovic will face the winner of Cameron Norrie, who recently triumphed at Indian Wells, and Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals.

The field has already been cleared of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who retired hurt when facing Alexei Popyrin on Wednesday.

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz put in an impressive display to upstage eighth seed Jannik Sinner in straights sets in the third round of the ATP Paris Masters on Wednesday.

Alcaraz was on top for most of his 7-6 (7-1) 7-5 victory, winning 80 per cent of his first-serve points and 75 per cent of net points against Sinner.

Sinner showed determination to stay in both sets, with the Italian saving nine of the 11 break points he faced, but it was ultimately in vain.

The European Open winner will be among those sweating as the race to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin heats up.

After the win, 18-year-old Alcaraz said: "I'm so happy for this win as Jannik was fighting for a spot at the ATP Finals. It's my third Top 10 win of the year.

"I think Jannik and I will have a great rivalry in the future... I think that I played really, really aggressive, more than him. I think that was one of the keys."

Alcaraz will now face qualifier Hugo Gaston in the next round after the Frenchman impressively knocked out 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 7-5.

Interesting day for Turin hopefuls

It was a mixed day for others looking to secure a spot at the season-ending ATP Finals later this month as Felix Auger-Aliassime – ranked 12th in the ATP Race to Turin – lost in straight sets to Dominik Koepfer, who added to his impressive list of victims after beating three-time grand slam champion Andy Murray in the first round.

Koepfer will play another Turin hopeful, the 10th-ranked Hubert Hurkacz after he beat Tommy Paul in straight sets.

Cameron Norrie also impressed in his 6-3 6-4 win over Reilly Opelka, which was his 50th tour-level win of the year.

Taylor Fritz awaits after the American stunned fifth seed Andrey Rublev 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

 

Medvedev and Zverev ease through but Tsitsipas out

Second seed and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev had a routine first match of the tournament as he swept past Ilya Ivashka 7-5 6-4, while Olympic Games gold medallist and fourth seed Alexander Zverev also had few problems against Dusan Lajovic 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

However, third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas exited after retiring hurt with an apparent arm injury against Alexei Popyrin in the first set with the score at 4-2 to the Australian.

Popyrin will now face fellow countryman James Duckworth, who followed up his impressive win against 14th seed Roberto Bautista Agut with a 6-3 3-6 6-3 victory against Lorenzo Musetti.

Elsewhere, 11th seed Diego Schwartzman was shocked by qualifier Marcos Giron 7-6 (7-2) 7-6 (7-4).

There were also wins for 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov against Karen Kachanov, and Sebastian Korda over Marin Cilic.

Gael Monfils will go up against world number one Novak Djokovic in the third round after the experienced French 15th seed came from behind to beat compatriot Adrian Mannarino 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.

Novak Djokovic recovered from a second-set blip to emerge victorious 6-2 4-6 6-3 in his first match since the US Open at the Paris Masters.

Victory in Paris would see Djokovic – competing for the first time since September's loss to Daniil Medvedev in the Flushing Meadows final – clinch the year-end number one ranking for a record seventh time.

Djokovic looked to be on course for a routine victory to start his campaign after comfortably taking the first set against Marton Fucsovics in their second-round contest on Tuesday.

However, the top seed's Hungarian opponent fought back to force a decider, hitting 13 winners to seven unforced errors in the second set.

But Djokovic – a record five-time Paris Masters champion – ensured a remarkable turnaround was not forthcoming, breaking Fucsovics twice in the third and, after letting one match point slip, clinching his second to secure victory.

Felix fights back

Ranked 12th in the ATP Race to Turin, Felix Auger-Aliassime needs to lift the trophy in Paris and hope Casper Ruud and Jannik Sinner do not reach the latter stages to make it to the ATP Finals.

Auger-Aliassime risked falling at the first hurdle on Tuesday as the ninth seed was forced to fight back to defeat Gianluca Mager 4-6 6-4 6-1.

"I had difficulty with my pace at the beginning of the match," said Auger-Aliassime. "I didn't hit enough first serves so I had a bit of pressure on my second serve.

"So I could have served better in the first set. I [had] a poor game at four-all and I got broken, but even before that there were moments at 30-all it was a bit hot and a bit tight. I think I relaxed. I found a better pace at the beginning of the second set, and it went even better as the match went forward."

He will next face Dominik Koepfer in the second round following the German's stunning win over Andy Murray on Monday.

 

Alcaraz sets up Sinner clash

Sinner will have an extremely testing second-round clash after Carlos Alcaraz came from behind to see off wild card Pierre Hugues-Herbert.

Alcaraz let slip a 4-2 lead in the first set to lose that on a tie-break but won six straight points in a second-set breaker before eventually battling to a 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 7-5 win in two hours, 53 minutes.

"It's not easy to play against a home player," Alcaraz said. "I think we played a good level and it was a great match, so I am happy to win. He has a great serve, so I had to return better and remain focus. I think that was the key. I am playing at a good level and I want to finish the year strong."

Diego Schwartzman – the 11th seed – needed three sets to see off John Millman, 15th seed Gael Monfils reversed a one-set deficit against Miomir Kecmanovic and 16th seed Grigor Dimitrov survived a three-setter with Richard Gasquet.

But one seed did fall on Tuesday, Roberto Bautista Agut (14) edged by James Duckworth in three sets.

Andy Murray was defeated in the first round of the Paris Masters on Monday following a three-set battle with Dominik Koepfer.

Murray, given a wildcard entry, was initially drawn against Jenson Brooksby but the American withdrew just a couple of hours before the match was due to start because of an abdominal injury.

The three-time major singles champion instead faced German Koepfer, who triumphed 6-4 5-7 7-6 (11-9) in a contest lasting just over three hours.

Lucky loser Koepfer, in his debut in the main draw, served for the match at 5-3 in the second set but was broken to love as the contest turned topsy-turvy.

Murray had seven match points in the decider, including five in the tie-breaker, but the 2016 champion could not convert and left the court looking disconsolate.

"I was about to go back to the hotel and then one of the ATP Tour Managers texted me, 'Dom, you in? You're playing against Andy Murray'," Koepfer said. "Honestly, I was a little nervous.

"I didn't expect to play today, I was hoping that someone was going to pull out tomorrow. But a night match here in Paris, a lot of fans, they had an unbelievable crowd, the first time for me for a while. It's been a great day. Unexpected, but it worked out and I'm happy."

There was more disappointment for the United Kingdom as Dan Evans saw a strong start yield nothing as he lost in three sets to Alexander Bublik, who goes on to face sixth seed Casper Ruud.

Djokovic set for Fucsovics test

World number one Novak Djokovic will begin his campaign against Marton Fucsovics, who outlasted Fabio Fognini in a match lasing nearly two hours and 45 minutes.

Fucsovics dominated the first set but was engaged in a far tougher battle for the rest of the contest before winning 6-1 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-5).

The Hungarian is 0-3 against Djokovic in his career, last losing to the 20-time major winner at the quarter-final stage of Wimbledon. The winner of this latest contest could face a last-16 meeting with Adrian Mannarino, who won in straight sets against Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Ilya Ivashka overcame Albert Ramos-Vinolas to secure a meeting with second seed Daniil Medvedev, while Dusan Lajovic will face Alexander Zverev after defeating Mackenzie McDonald.

Norrie brings up Tour century to keep Finals in sight

Tenth seed Cameron Norrie kept his chances alive of qualifying for the ATP Finals after a commanding 6-2 6-1 defeat of Federico Delbonis.

The Briton's victory, his 100th on the Tour, could help him to close the gap in the race for the year-ending tournament in Turin. Norrie started the week in 11th place, 140 points adrift of Jannik Sinner in the eighth and final automatic qualifying spot.

"It's obviously a great milestone and it shows I have been on the Tour and have a little bit of experience now," said Norrie. "It's a nice bonus, but there is a lot of tennis in the year to be played. It's a great achievement."

One man who will not qualify for the Finals is Aslan Karatsev. Last month's champion in Moscow lost in three sets to American Sebastian Korda, meaning he cannot now catch the top eight.

Novak Djokovic is unwilling to commit to January's Australian Open as the defending champion awaits confirmation on travel and entry requirements amid Victoria's vaccine mandate.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Last week, Australia prime minister Scott Morrison said unvaccinated players would be allowed to contest the slam if they completed two weeks in quarantine, though Victoria premier Dan Andrews dismissed those comments, insisting athletes would not be granted access unless they received the COVID-19 vaccine.

A record nine-time Australian Open champion, world number one Djokovic remains non-committal over his looming title defence.

"Well, I'm going to decide on whether I go to Australia or not after I see the official statement from Tennis Australia," Djokovic said as he prepares for the Paris Masters – his first tournament since losing to Daniil Medvedev in September's US Open final.

"Right now, we don't have any official announcement or statement. So until that's out, I won't be talking about this anymore, because I don't want to be part of the stories about the assumptions and what-ifs.

"When official condition requirements to travel to Australia and play in Australia are out, then obviously I'll see what I personally do with that, and also the bigger group of the players, you know, because the situation is obviously different in Australia than most parts of the world."

World number two Medvedev also refused to confirm his Australian Open participation.

"I always said it, that I really like Novak's answer about this. I want to keep my medical, no matter if it's about vaccine, leg injury, head injury... I want to keep my medical private for a reason," Medvedev said.

"I feel like tennis is such a brutal sport where you're always one on one against your opponent, and any information you give him can go against you.

"If you're playing Australia, it's obvious you're vaccinated. So that's why I said I'm willing to play Australia, but I won't say if you'll see me there, but we're going to see in January."

World number one Novak Djokovic said he will return to action at the Paris Masters blessed to be a more "humble" tennis player.

The Serbian makes his first appearance since his US Open final defeat to Daniil Medvedev at the ATP 1000 tournament in the French capital.

That defeat in New York cost Djokovic the chance to become only the third man to win a singles calendar slam by winning all four majors in the same year.

Djokovic also missed the opportunity to move top of the all-time Grand Slam tournament winners list and remains joint-top alongside Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal with 20 titles.

However, the 34-year-old – whose status for the 2021 Australian Open remains unknown – was phlegmatic when he reflected on his loss to Russian world number two Medvedev.

"In a most ideal scenario, I would have won all four of them," Djokovic told a media conference. "Knowing I was so close gives me great encouragement for the future, but it also makes me feel humble about my game, about my career.

"It gives me a kind of reality check where I have to go back to the practice court and really understand what needs to be done so that I could improve.

"This was not an ordinary loss considering the circumstances. I have learned over the years to deal with losses in such way that I treat them as great opportunities for growth.

"I feel that the US Open loss in the final has arrived arguably at the worst or at the best time for me, in a way.

"I'm disappointed that I lost the match, but I feel like I was blessed to experience love from the crowd and support from the stadium that I have never experienced before in my life in New York, and actually not in many places around the world.

"That kind of energy that I received from the crowd from the moment I stepped on the court until I stepped out is a win for life."

Djokovic, who has won four of the last eight Paris Masters tournaments, claimed the prospect of ending the year as the world number one ahead of Medvedev will motivate him.

Should he do so then Djokovic would leapfrog Pete Sampras for the most year-end number one finishes in history with seven.

He will face either Italian Fabio Fognini or Hungarian Marton Fucsovics having received a bye through the first round.

"The year-end number one is on the line between Medvedev and myself, and I'm in a pretty good position," added Djokovic, who has won 85 ATP tour titles.

"That's obviously the goal for the end of the season other than trying to do well in the Davis Cup with the national team. So hopefully I can have a strong finish of the season and clinch that year-end number one.

"I’m pleased to be back. I have been training really well the past couple of weeks. And I have had plenty of success in Paris over the years, so that gives me enough reason to believe that I can do well.

"The lack of match play could be dangerous, so I have to really make sure that I start off my first match very well with a good intensity and build my form."

Novak Djokovic's participation at the Australian Open has been cast in doubt once again as Victorian premier Daniel Andrews indicated the state that hosts the event will not welcome those who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Australian minister for immigration Alex Hawke revealed last week Djokovic, who has won a record nine titles at Melbourne Park, could only take part in January's tournament if he has received both jabs.

But the 20-time grand slam winner, who has declined to reveal his vaccination status, was given hope of competing after prime minister Scott Morrison said there would be exemptions should the state of Victoria – which includes Melbourne – agree.

However, responding to those comments on Wednesday, Andrews made clear his government would not apply for any sort of dispensation as it would not be fair on the other players and spectators who are fully vaccinated.

"The federal government manages the border and to the extent that anything the federal government says on this is clear, because their position has gone 180 from what the immigration minister said," Andrews said.

"What I'm making equally clear on behalf of every vaccinated Victorian who is doing the right thing... the only fair thing to do is to be very clear with every Victorian, my government will not be applying for an exemption for any unvaccinated player."

Recent reports suggested that over a third of professional players on the ATP Tour remain unvaccinated ahead of the 2022 Australian Open, which runs for two weeks from January 17.

Andrews added: "I'm not going to ask and actually require people sitting in the grandstand, people working at the event, to be vaccinated while players aren't.

"So we're not going to be applying for an exemption, so the issue is basically resolved."

Andrews also stated the same approach will be taken when Formula One returns to Melbourne in April next year.

Speaking last week, world number one Djokovic – who beat Daniil Medvedev earlier this year to win his latest Australian Open crown – told Serbian newspaper Blic: "Things being as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne.

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

"Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.

"I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open... I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes."

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