Connect with us

News

Novak Djokovic Australian Open twist as new rule throws Covid decision wide open

Published

on

NOVAK DJOKOVIC’s Australian Open hopes have taken a big twist

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has hinted that Novak Djokovic may be able to compete in the tournament without being vaccinated as the Serb refuses to disclose his vaccination status. All players must be fully vaccinated in order to compete in the season-opening Grand Slam, which has left the nine-time champion’s participation in doubt. The Tennis Australia boss admitted that some players will be allowed in with a medical exemption.

Djokovic’s chances of making the Australian Open have been in doubt for several months after government officials pushed for a vaccine mandate.

Last month, Craig Tiley officially confirmed that all players looking to compete in the Melbourne Grand Slam would need to be fully vaccinated.

The world No 1 has refused to disclose his vaccination status and had even previously said he didn’t know “if [he was] going” to Australia for the first Major of the year.

Advertisement

Novak-Djokovic australia

Djokovic then put his name on the entry list for both the Australian Open and the warm-up team tournament in Sydney, the ATP Cup.

It sparked speculation that the nine-time Aussie Open champion was looking to gain entry to the country and the tournaments by getting a medical exemption, allowing him the same freedoms as vaccinated members of the public.

Government officials including the country’s Prime Minister shut down the idea that Djokovic would receive an exemption and confirmed that any decisions would be made and granted by medical experts.

“He will follow the same rules as anyone else would. There are no special rules for tennis players or anyone else,” Scott Morrison said earlier this month.

CHECK HERE: For your branding services, Logo design, business card, website design and many more…

But in an official Australian Open update on Wednesday, Tiley confirmed multiple tennis players would be granted medical exemptions in order to compete in the country next month.

Advertisement

“Everyone who is coming in is vaccinated and there will be a small percentage – a very small percentage – that will have a medical exemption,” he admitted.

“So 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. That provides us with safety and an extra level of comfort on site.”

Tiley also confirmed he had spoken with Djokovic and his team last weekend, and appeared to hint that the world No 1 may be in the small group of players receiving a medical exemption, saying the 34-year-old would be able to keep his medical condition “private” if he competes in the Melbourne Grand Slam.

Novak Stretch

The Australian Open chief said: “If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption.

“Everyone who is coming in is vaccinated and there will be a small percentage – a very small percentage – that will have a medical exemption,” he admitted.

The Australian Open chief said: “If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption.

Advertisement

“Novak wants to play the Australian Open,” the Tennis Australia boss said.

“We don’t talk much about the specifics of where he’s at. Medically he doesn’t talk to anyone about it, and I’m not going to question it either.

“It’s going to be extremely difficult for a tennis player in 2022 to travel around the world and not have, in each country, separately an exemption or be vaccinated. But that’s ultimately up to them. But I’m not going to ask Novak that, it’s none of my business.”

Advertisement