Novak Djokovic US Open 2021

Australian Open chief dismisses suggestions Novak Djokovic was handed ‘special treatment’ for medical exemption

Craig Tiley “completely understands and empathises” with the Australian public after Novak Djokovic was granted an Australian Open medical exemption.

After months of confusion regarding whether or not Djokovic would be allowed to defend his Australian Open crown and compete for a tenth ‘Happy Slam,’ doubts were put to rest when the 20-time Grand Slam champion was granted a medical exemption.

If players wish to compete at the first Grand Slam of the season, they are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, something Djokovic has not publicly revealed.

The rigorous application process for medical exemptions was outlined in a statement released by Tennis Australia and involves two independent panels of medical experts.

After Djokovic revealed he would be competing at the Australian Open with a medical exemption, Tiley said “we made it extra difficult for anyone applying for an application to ensure it was the right process and to make sure the medical experts deal with it independently.

“There were 26 athletes that made applications and a handful have been granted.

“Any person who met those conditions has been allowed to come in. There’s been no special favour. There’s been no special opportunity granted to Novak.

“We completely understand and empathise with people being upset about the fact that Novak has come in because of his statements over the past couple of years around vaccination.

“It’ll certainly be helpful if Novak was to explain the conditions in which he’s sought an exemption.

“However it is ultimately up to him to discuss with the public his condition, if he chooses to do that, and the reasons why he received an exemption.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.