No vax, no Australian Open for Djokovic, Latest tennis news
Novak Djokovic will not be able to enter Australia to defend his Australian Open title if he is not fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the country’s Immigration Minister said yesterday, questioning the candidacy from Serbian to Grand Slam.
World number 1 Djokovic, who is on par with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in 20 Grand Slam titles, refused to reveal his vaccination status and said he was unsure if he would defend his crown from the Australian Open.
Clarifying Australia’s visa requirements, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said overseas players would need two shots to play the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park in January.
“You will need to be doubly vaccinated to visit Australia. It is a universal application, not just for tennis players. I mean every visitor to Australia will need to be doubly vaccinated,” Hawke told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio. .
“I don’t have a message for Novak. I have a message for anyone wishing to visit Australia. He will need to be double vaccinated.”
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the country’s rules were aimed at protecting Australians.
“They apply to everyone without fear or favor. It doesn’t matter if you are No.1 in the world or if you are something else,” he said yesterday at a press conference.
Aside from Djokovic, who has won nine of his Grand Slam titles at the Australian Open and the last three in a row at Melbourne Park, the rule could exclude dozens of players from the tournament.
More than a third of professional players are still not vaccinated, according to recent media reports.
Both the Men’s ATP and Women’s WTA Tours have urged players to get the shots, but some have expressed reservations.
US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and German world number 4 Alexander Zverev have expressed skepticism, although their vaccination status remains unknown.
Greece’s world number 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas said in August that he would only get the shot if it became mandatory, but later said he planned to get the shot by the end of the year. – REUTERS