Novak Djokovic medical exemption rejected ahead of Australian Open, report claims
Novak Djokovic may miss the Australian Open after being denied a medical exemption from the requirement for players to be fully vaccinated against Covid.
The world number one has been ferociously secretive about his vaccination status, leading to speculation he will not be granted a visa to defend his title next month.
Tournament director Craig Tiley recently reiterated the necessary steps to play the event which starts 17th January.
“If any player, fan [or] workforce is on site here, you’re either vaccinated or you have a medical exemption that’s approved and you’re on the Australian Immunisation Register,” he said.
“That provides us with safety and an extra level of comfort on site. If [Djokovic] shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption.”
The latter now appears to be out of the question for Djokovic, with reports suggesting he has been denied a medical exemption.
Moreover, his application for such an exemption suggests that he is unvaccinated. However, his vaccination status officially remains unknown.
The news of his rejection comes from Serbian daily newspaper The Informer.
They say that, according to a source close to the Djokovic family, the world number one is explicitly against the Covid vaccine and will not receive it in order to participate at the first Slam of the 2022 season.
Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the ATP Cup, a team tournament and Australian Open warm-up event which kicks off in Sydney on 1st January.
This in itself has thrown the three-time defending Australian Open champion’s participation in Melbourne into doubt.
Perhaps the highest profile withdrawal due to unvaccinated status so far has been 2019 Australian Open doubles champion Pierre-Hugues Herbert.
The Frenchman revealed he would not play the event as he is not vaccinated, citing his decision as a “personal choice.”
Doubles partner and fellow 2019 Melbourne champion Nicolas Mahut supported the decision, but warned the move could put Herbert’s 2022 season “in danger.”
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