Australian Open directs all players to vaccinate against COVID to play
- Novak Djokovic has not revealed whether he is vaccinated or not
- He said earlier he will wait for the health protocols to be announced before deciding whether he will play or not
- "We would love to see Novak here, he knows that he’ll have to be vaccinated," AO chief Craig Tiley said
This comes with World No 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic refusing to confirm whether he is vaccinated or not, saying he will wait for Tennis Australia to announce their health protocols before deciding whether he will play in Melbourne or not.
“There’s a lot of speculation about vaccination and just to be really clear, when the [state] premier announced that everyone on site ... will need to be vaccinated ... we made that clear to the playing group,” The Guardian quoted Tiley saying during an interaction with reporters.
“(Novak) has said that he views this as a private matter for him. We would love to see Novak here, he knows that he’ll have to be vaccinated to play here.”
The announcement brings an end to long-drawn negotiations between Tennis Australia and the Victoria state government, which has insisted that everyone at Melbourne Park needs to be vaccinated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison had earlier said that unvaccinated players will be allowed into the country if they served a 14-day quarantine period and if the state of Victoria applied for an exemption. However, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that the state will not seek any exemptions for unvaccinated players.
Djokovic, who is tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on a record 20 singles Grand Slam titles, will have the chance to become the all-time leader in that regard with a record-extending 10th Australian Open crown if he decides to play.
Nadal has confirmed he will play in Melbourne next January but Federer, who is also not vaccinated, will miss out as he recovers from a knee surgery.
Meanwhile, Tiley confirmed 80% of all players are vaccinated and that they will play in front of capacity crowds in all stadiums when the tournament begins on January 17.