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Australian Open to allow unvaccinated players, despite officials’ pushback: report


Unvaccinated tennis players could end up participating in the Australian Open at the beginning of next year, despite officials’ recent threats that those without the COVID-19 vaccine will not be granted visas, according to a leaked email from Australia Tennis. 

Tennis insider Ben Rothenberg posted an email to Twitter on Sunday from the sport’s governing body that was sent to WTA. The email laid out the guidelines of participation for vaccinated and unvaccinated players, which includes “two weeks hard quarantine” for the latter. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED TO PLAY IN AUSTRALIAN OPEN, OFFICIAL SAYS 

Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the 2021 Australian Open Men's Final, at Brighton Beach on Feb. 22, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the 2021 Australian Open Men’s Final, at Brighton Beach on Feb. 22, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia.
(Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

“We feel the need to reach out to you all to clear up false and misleading information that has recently been spread by other parties about the conditions that players will be forced to endure at next year’s Australian Open,” the email read. 

Alex Hawke, Australia’s minister for immigration, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio last week that participants will need both doses of the vaccine to be eligible to participate – a measure that applies to anyone trying to enter the country. 

“You’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia,” Hawke said, via Reuters. “That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated.” 

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Daniel Andrews, premier of the state of Victoria, also said he thought it was unlikely that unvaccinated players would be granted a visa. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media on Oct. 17, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia. 

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews speaks to the media on Oct. 17, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia. 
(Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The comments from officials were seemingly pointed at Novak Djokovic, whose attendance at one of his most successful Grand Slams was in question over his vaccine status. 

“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry,” he said at the time. “People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person. Whatever you say – ‘Yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it’ – they will take advantage.”

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Novak Djokovic (SRB) during his first round match in Rome, Italy, on May 11, 2021.

Novak Djokovic (SRB) during his first round match in Rome, Italy, on May 11, 2021.
(Corinne Dubreuil/ABACAPRESS.COM/ Reuters)

According to the leaked email, unvaccinated players would be allowed to participate in the Australian Open after undergoing a “two weeks hard quarantine,” a negative test 72 hours before leaving, and regular testing. 

Rothenberg noted that the rules could be subject to change depending on government policy.



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