Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic does not know if he will defend his crown due to the COVID-19 mandate in Victoria.

It remains to be seen whether world number one Djokovic will fly to Melbourne in January amid 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 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As doubts over Djokovic's participation linger, the 34-year-old superstar was asked about his Australian Open plans after losing to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of the ATP Finals on Saturday.

"I haven't been talking to [Tennis Australia], to be honest," nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic told reporters after his 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 defeat in Turin.

"I was just waiting to hear what the news was going to be. Now that I know, we'll just have to wait and see."

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 – winner of a joint-record 20 grand slam titles – was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced.

Werder Bremen coach Markus Anfang has quit the German club as investigations continue into claims he used a forged COVID-19 vaccine certificate.

Public prosecutors are examining the case, with Anfang having denied any wrongdoing in discussions with the club before he stepped down on Saturday.

Werder's 40-year run in the Bundesliga ended when they were relegated in May, and Anfang was appointed in June to lead the team in their quest for promotion back to the top flight.

The four-time Bundesliga champions announced Anfang and his assistant Florian Junge had both resigned.

Anfang had said on Thursday that he had been double vaccinated and expressed hope the matter would be "cleared up quickly", but that has not yet materialised.

A club statement read: "Head coach Markus Anfang and assistant coach Florian Junge resigned from their offices with immediate effect on Saturday morning. The reason for the decision are the public prosecutor's investigations against both coaches and the resulting unrest in and around the club."

Anfang commented on his departure by saying: "Due to the extremely stressful situation for the club, the team, my family and myself, I have decided that I will end my job as Werder Bremen's head coach with immediate effect."

The announcement came ahead of a Saturday evening 2. Bundesliga clash with Schalke, another mainstay of the Bundesliga who tumbled into the second tier at the end of last season.

Werder managing director of football Frank Baumann said: "With their step, Markus and Florian take on responsibility and thus contribute to ending the unrest that has arisen around the club and the team in the last few days. We respect their decision and will now start looking for a new head coach."

It was also revealed on Saturday that Werder's head of professional football and scouting, Clemens Fritz, has tested positive for COVID-19 and would be absent from the bench for the Schalke game.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has insisted all players, including Novak Djokovic, must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to compete at the January grand slam.

Djokovic's vaccination status is unclear, and he has so far refused to confirm whether he has been jabbed, which has led to doubts over whether he will be in Melbourne.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has made it clear that tennis stars arriving for the tournament must be prepared to show proof of having protection against the virus.

For Djokovic, who is competing this week at the ATP Finals in Turin, it remains to be seen whether he is willing to go through that process.

Tiley told Channel Nine: "It's been made very clear, when the Premier announced several weeks ago that in order to participate at the Australian Open, to come into Victoria, you'll need to be fully vaccinated.

"Immediately we communicated that to the playing group, it is the one direction that you take that is going to ensure everyone's safety. All the playing group understands it, our patrons will need to be vaccinated, all the staff working at the Australian Open will need to be vaccinated.

"But when we're in a state where there's more than 90 per cent of the population fully vaccinated, they've done a magnificent job with that, it's the right thing to do."

Tiley said organisers "would love to see Novak" make the trip to a tournament he has won a record nine times.

Djokovic sits on 20 grand slam titles, the same mark as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. He needs one more to set the outright men's record, having lost to Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final in September.

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

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

The tournament is due to get under way on January 17, with the player bubbles and quarantine measures that were in force at the 2021 edition no longer in place and Melbourne Park set to operate at full capacity.

Australian player Nick Kyrgios this week said he believes the vaccine mandate is "morally wrong".

Joshua Kimmich will miss Bayern Munich's Bundesliga match at Augsburg on Friday as he is self-isolating after coming into close contact with someone who may have coronavirus.

Julian Nagelsmann on Thursday revealed that Kimmich missed training as a precautionary measure as Bayern awaited the results of his PCR test.

The Bundesliga champions confirmed on Friday that Kimmich, Niklas Sule and Josip Stanisic are in isolation.

Germany midfielder Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, had recently been forced into isolation along with Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala due to being in close contact with Niklas Sule.

Sule withdrew from the Germany squad to face Liechtenstein and Armenia after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Croatia defender Stanisic's positive test was revealed this week following his return from international duty.

Nagelsmann stated that Kimmich had come into close contact with an individual "in his private sphere" who may have the virus.

Kicker reported that Kimmich, Gnabry and Musiala – who are all unvaccinated – are being split up for the rest of the Bayern squad due a spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Kingsley Coman misses the clash with Augsburg due to a minor muscle problem.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers insist "no irregularities were observed" after a report contained the claim that Antonio Brown procured a fake COVID-19 vaccine card.

A story from the Tampa Bay Times featured the allegation that wide receiver Brown was willing to pay his former live-in chef Steven Ruiz $500 if he could obtain a vaccine card for the NFL star.

The report says Ruiz was unable to secure cards but claimed he was later shown fake documentation by Brown.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement: "We are aware of the report and have been in contact with the club. We will review the matter."

While players in the NFL do not have to be vaccinated in order to play, those who are not jabbed face stricter restrictions under the league's protocols put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Brown's attorney, Sean Burstyn, was quoted by NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport as saying "be like Antonio Brown and get the vaccine", and insisted his client is indeed vaccinated against COVID-19.

Defending Super Bowl champions the Bucs have now also reacted to the claims.

A team statement read: "After an extensive educational process conducted throughout our organisation this past offseason highlighting the benefit of COVID-19 vaccines, we received completed vaccination cards from all Tampa Bay Buccaneers players and submitted the required information to the NFL through the established process in accordance with league policy.

"All vaccination cards were reviewed by Buccaneers personnel and no irregularities were observed."

Brown missed the Bucs' week three game against the Los Angeles Rams after testing positive for COVID-19. He featured in the team's following three games before being sidelined by an ankle injury.

Bayern Munich are waiting to discover if Joshua Kimmich will be available to face Augsburg on Friday after he was in close contact with someone who may have coronavirus.

Julian Nagelsmann confirmed Kimmich missed training on Thursday as a precautionary measure and the Bundesliga champions are awaiting the results of his PCR test.

Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, was recently forced into isolation along with Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala due to being in close contact with Niklas Sule.

Sule withdrew from the Germany squad to face Liechtenstein and Armenia after he tested positive for COVID-19.

Kicker reported that Kimmich, Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala – who are all unvaccinated – are being split up for the rest of the Bayern squad due a spike in coronavirus cases. 

Josip Stanisic was the latest Bayern player to return a positive COVID-19 test this week, with the Bavarian giants stating on Wednesday that the fully-vaccinated Croatia defender is isolating at home but feels "fine".

Nagelsmann revealed Kingsley Coman will miss the clash with Augsburg due to a minor muscle problem, but Leon Goretzka is fully fit.

The Bayern head coach will make a late decision on whether Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Alphonso Davies feature on Friday after they only returned from international duty on the eve of the game.

The MCG Ashes Test and the Australian Open will be watched by capacity crowds following the easing of coronavirus restrictions in Victoria.

Victorian premier Daniel Andrews has announced there will no longer be limits on gatherings in the state.

Andrews had revealed last month, when the latest lockdown ended, that he was hopeful at least 80,000 will be able to attend the Boxing Day Test.

Australia and England can now look forward to playing in front of a full house of 100,000 next month.

The first grand slam of the year, starting at Melbourne Park on January 17, is also set to be played without a cap on the number of spectators allowed in.

"Whether it's 100,000 people at the MCG on Boxing Day or a smaller group of people standing up at the … local pub, this is the COVID-normal that every Victorian has built," he said at a press conference.

Crowds for the 2021 Australian Open were limited to 30,000 people per day – around half capacity – prior to a snap lockdown being implemented during the tournament.

No more than 30,000 were permitted in the MCG for Australia's Boxing Day Test against India last year.

Bayern Munich have revealed defender Josip Stanisic has tested positive for coronavirus.

The Bundesliga champions on Thursday confirmed Stanisic, who is fully vaccinated, is isolating at home but feels "fine".

Stanisic came on as a substitute in Croatia's 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Russia on Sunday.

It has been reported that another two Bayern employees have returned positive COVID-19 tests.

Stanisic's team-mate Niklas Sule withdrew from the Germany squad to face Liechtenstein and Armenia after he tested positive for the virus.

Joshua Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, was forced into isolation along with Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala due to being in close contact with Sule.

The Bavarian giants returned to Bundesliga action with a trip to Augsburg on Friday.

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."

The Ottawa Senators' next three NHL games have been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Ten Senators players and associate coach Jack Capuano are in NHL COVID-19 protocol following positive tests over the past 10 days.

Drake Batherson, Austin Watson, Alex Formenton, Dylan Gambrell and Connor Brown missed the 4-0 defeat to the Calgary Flames on Sunday, with Nick Holden, Victor Mete, Nikita Zaitsev, Josh Brown and Matt Murray also absent.

Ottawa's training facilities have been closed until further notice, and they will not face the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday or the Nashville Predators on Thursday.

Saturday's game against the New York Rangers has also been called off on Monday, with the league citing "evidence of continued spread in recent days."

They are the first games postponed this season due to concerns over the virus, with 55 having been postponed last season.

The NHL stated that rescheduled dates for the three games are to be determined.

Hansi Flick would like all of Germany's players to get vaccinated against coronavirus, but does not judge those who wish not to be.

On Tuesday, Germany confirmed that Bayern Munich defender Niklas Sule – who is fully vaccinated – had tested positive for COVID-19. He was immediately placed into quarantine.

Squads no longer have to do mandatory PCR testing, but Germany elected to do so. With Sule testing positive, Serge Gnabry, Jamal Musiala, Karim Adeyemi and Joshua Kimmich were classed as close contacts and had to leave the training camp to isolate.

Another four players, who have not been named, were also said to have contact with Sule, but were allowed to remain at the camp. They will train alone and be monitored closely over the coming days.

Apart from Sule, no other positive cases were recorded.

While the vaccination status of Adeyemi, Musiala and Gnabry is not known, Bayern star Kimmich has publicly revealed he wishes to wait for more research to be completed on the vaccines before taking up the offer.

Though he would have preferred to avoid the subject and instead focus on Germany's World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Armenia, Flick reiterated his opinion that everybody should get vaccinated, but also stressed it must be down to the individual to make such a decision.

"There are enough experts who deal with it," Flick told a news conference on Wednesday.

"They have come to the conclusion that there is no compulsory vaccination. There are people in all areas who do not get vaccinated.

"We are in the public eye. We also have a great responsibility. But I've said everything about how I feel about it.

"I want the players to be vaccinated, but that's up to them. I hope that there will no longer be issues such as the five players we have to send home due to coronavirus, that is what I would like as a coach."

There has been a suggestion that players who are unvaccinated may not be able to compete at the 2022 World Cup.

"Qatar is still a long way off, we will see what comes next," he added.

"Our team doctor said enough yesterday. The fact is that we thought about it beforehand and tested ourselves. We feel it is our responsibility to ensure that we are all healthy.

"That something like this would happen to us was almost foreseeable. But we have no compulsory vaccination. I believe that people should not be judged who do not get vaccinated.

"For me the only way out of the pandemic is to get vaccinated – even in professional football. That is my opinion. But everyone has the right to refuse."

Flick also confirmed that Julian Draxler would miss Thursday's match against Liechtenstein with a muscle injury.

Daniil Medvedev has confirmed he will play at the Australian Open next year, as the debate over vaccine mandates continues.

Medvedev was defeated by Novak Djokovic in the final of this year's tournament, though the Russian has gone on to enjoy a brilliant season.

He has won four titles, including his first grand slam, beating Djokovic at the US Open in September to end the latter's pursuit of a clean sweep of the four majors in 2021.

Djokovic and Medvedev met again on Sunday, with the world number one coming out on top to clinch his sixth Paris Masters title and a record 37th triumph at ATP 1000 events.

Medvedev had appeared non-committal about being vaccinated against COVID-19, which is likely to be a requirement for any player wishing to compete at the Australian Open, but he dispelled doubts around his involvement when he tweeted on Tuesday: "See you in January @AustralianOpen."

While Medvedev will be involved in Melbourne, the participation of Djokovic – who is a nine-time Australian Open champion – is not yet known.

The Serbian has previously appeared hesitant over the coronavirus vaccine mandate, though he has not revealed whether he has been vaccinated or not.

Australia has enforced strict measures throughout the pandemic, with Melbourne having been under lockdown on six occasions since March 2020. Indeed, the city only lifted its most recent restrictions towards the end of October.

Athletes arriving in Australia prior to last year's event had to go through a mandatory two-week hotel quarantine.

Despite Australia's vaccination programme gaining momentum, travellers who are not citizens must be able to provide proof of vaccination and a negative PCR test result, while quarantine regulations vary depending on state rules.

Tennis Australia is reportedly still hopeful of securing a deal for unvaccinated players to compete in the tournament, subject to a two-week quarantine, with prime minister Scott Morrison suggesting players could be granted an exemption. 

On Tuesday, though, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews insisted players will have to be vaccinated.

"I'm not going to have people sitting in the grandstands having done the right thing, only to have millionaire players that ought [to] be vaccinated running around the place being essentially at such higher risk of spreading this – getting it and giving it," he said.

Speaking last month, Djokovic said: "I don't know if I'm going to Australia, I don't know what's going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.

"Of course, I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam, I want to participate, I love this sport, I still have motivation."

Germany's national team director Oliver Bierhoff has confirmed Niklas Sule is the player to have tested positive for coronavirus.

It was announced earlier on Tuesday that a member of Germany's squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Armenia had returned a positive PCR test result and had immediately gone into isolation, though the player was not named at the time.

Four other players who were judged to have been close contacts also had to isolate, though no other positive results had been recorded within the camp.

At a subsequent news conference, Bierhoff confirmed Bayern Munich centre-back Sule was the player to have contracted COVID-19. 

Sule is double vaccinated, and the earlier update stated he had not shown any symptoms.

His club-mate Joshua Kimmich, who has publicly confirmed he has not yet received either dose of his vaccine, is one of the other four players to have gone into quarantine.

Kimmich, 26, explained last month that he is not opposed to the prospect of getting vaccinated at some stage, but he wishes to wait for further research to be conducted.

Fellow Bayern players Serge Gnabry and Jamal Musiala have also been forced into isolation, given they were part of the same travelling party to the training camp, while Karim Adeyemi also has to quarantine.

"The squad is still strong, and we will prepare for the two games in World Cup qualification from noon today and make them successful," said Bierhoff.

"The situation is not easy for the players, but there is no huge concern now."

Asked about Kimmich, Bierhoff said: "It was clear that if someone in his environment tests positive, he would be put in quarantine.

"Of course, that's difficult to accept when you have acted correctly and paid attention to everything."

Bierhoff was joined at the media conference by Germany's team doctor Tim Meyer, who explained the length of the quarantine will depend on the regulations set by the local health authority in Wolfsburg.

Asked if Gnabry, Musiala and Adeyemi were vaccinated, Dr Meyer said: "I won't give you any information about that. The vaccination plays a role in the decision, but also how close the contact was.

"I have already given my personal opinion on vaccination against COVID-19. Joshua Kimmich's opinion is also known. We have to accept that."

Dr Meyer added that four other players have been classed as contacts, though will be allowed to remain at the accommodation and will be tested again in the coming days.

Germany have also lost Florian Wirtz and Nico Schlotterbeck to muscular injuries, with Kevin Volland and Wolfsburg duo Ridle Baku and Maximilian Arnold added to the squad.

England will be without Joe Marler when they face Australia at Twickenham on Saturday after the prop tested positive for coronavirus.

Marler returned a positive lateral flow test on Monday and immediately went into isolation.

The 31-year-old will isolate for 10 days after a PCR test confirmed he has contracted COVID-19.

All of the other England players and staff returned negative lateral flow tests, with additional PCR test results not yet received.

Owen Farrell rejoined the squad on Monday after he missed the 69-3 hammering of Tonga on Saturday, having tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Marler came off the bench in that thrashing at Twickenham, but will play no part against the Wallabies.

He will hope to be available to return when Eddie Jones' side take on world champions South Africa on November 20.

A Germany player has tested positive for coronavirus, with four others also forced into quarantine.

The player in question, who has not been named, is fully vaccinated and currently asymptomatic, according to a DFB statement issued on Tuesday.

All players and staff were PCR tested upon their arrival at Germany's training camp ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Armenia.

Only one player tested positive, but four others have been placed into isolation after being judged to be close contacts.

According to reports, Germany subsequently cancelled their training session on Tuesday, though the DFB statement did not confirm this.

Oliver Bierhoff, director of the national teams and academy, said: "The number of coronavirus cases has risen sharply across the country.

"Therefore, we will continue to implement the hygiene and behavioural measures in place for the final international game of the year, in order for us to handle the current situation as responsibly as possible.

"This news coming so soon before the final two World Cup qualifiers is very tough, both for the coaching staff and the whole team, but health and welfare is our top priority, of course.

"I hope the player who tested positive recovers soon and that he remains asymptomatic."

Germany has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks. Indeed, last week, 169,483 cases were recorded (according to World Health Organisation statistics) – the largest spike in the country since December 2020.

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