Novak Djokovic on Australian Open entry list despite not publicly revealing vaccination status
World number one Novak Djokovic will compete at the Australian Open as he looks to win a record 21st Grand Slam after being named on the entry list.
20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic’s participation at the upcoming Australian Open had been a doubt for the past few months due to his continued refusal to publicly declare his Covid-19 vaccination status.
After much deliberation between Australian ministers and politicians, tournament director Craig Tiley announced that players would be required to be double-vaccinated in order to compete.
This decision led to doubts over reigning champion Djokovic’s participation, especially considering Djokovic’s father Srdjan claimed his son “probably won’t play” and called the Australian Open’s rules “blackmail.”
However, these doubts were lessened when the nine-time ‘Happy Slam’ champion was named in Serbia’s ATP Cup team. The ATP Cup will be held in Sydney and is largely seen as a forerunner event to the Australian Open.
The Australian Government’s current rules regarding entry into the country state that one must provide evidence they have been vaccinated at least seven days before international travel.
Tennis Australia released a statement which addressed rumours of them exploring possible border entry and vaccination ‘loopholes’.
The statement read “all players, participants and staff at the Australian Open have to be vaccinated.
“Any suggestion that Tennis Australia is seeking ‘loopholes’ within this process is simply untrue. Adjudicating on medical exemptions is the domain of independent medical experts. We are not in a position to influence this process and nor would we.
“Any application for a medical exemption must follow strict government guidelines based on ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) clinical advice.
“This is the same process that applies to any person wanting to enter Australia.”
Victoria’s deputy premier James Merlino echoed what was said in Tennis Australia’s statement, saying “My view on this is really clear and really simple. Everyone’s looking forward to the Australian Open and everyone who will attend – spectators, players, officials, staff – everyone is expected to be fully vaccinated.
“They’re the rules. Medical exemptions are just that – it’s not a loophole for privileged tennis players. It is a medical exemption in exceptional circumstances if you have an acute medical condition.”
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