Novak Djokovic Australian Open Series 2021

Tennis Australia deny ‘misleading’ Novak Djokovic with incorrect medical exemption information

Tennis Australia “completely reject” accusations they mislead Novak Djokovic and others who were seeking Australian Open medical exemptions with incorrect information.

Both WTA doubles player Renata Veracova and 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic have had their medical exemptions revoked and face deportation ahead of the upcoming Australian Open.

Veracova is not set to appeal her decision, however World number one Djokovic has a court hearing on Monday to challenge his  visa cancellation and deportation.

The Herald Sun revealed that Tennis Australia sent a letter to players in December that indicated medical exemptions may be granted if players can prove they had contracted Covid-19 within the past six months.

However, this information is supposedly contradictory to information put forward by Minister for Health Care and Aged Care Greg Hunt.

In a statement released to the Herald Sun, Tennis Australia said “we have always been consistent in our communications to players that vaccination is the best course of action – not just as the right thing to do to protect themselves and others, but also as the best course of action to ensure they could arrive in Australia.

“We reject completely that the playing group was knowingly misled.

“Informing players they could get into the country on a medical exemption was taken from the Smart Traveller website that Greg Hunt directly referred us to.

“The purpose of this document was to explain eligibility to participate in the AO [Australian Open] under Victorian laws which required that an exemption be in line with the ATAGI [The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation] guidance.

“The summary of the ATAGI guidance in particular the information related to recent infection was new information taken from the expanded guidance issued by ATAGI.”

In November, Minister Greg Hunt wrote to Tennis Australia chief executive Craig Tiley and said “the Australian Border Force has advised that people must be fully vaccinated, as defined by ATAGI to gain quarantine-free entry into Australia.

“In relation to your specific questions, I can confirm that people who contracted Covid-19 within the past six months and seek to enter Australia from overseas, and have not received two doses of a Therapeutic Goods Administration-approved or recognised vaccine are not considered fully vaccinated.”

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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.