Australian Open: To compete in a Grand Slam, Novak Djokovic and all other players must be vaccinated against Covid-19

Australian Open
Source: Skysports

Tennis Australia has confirmed that Novak Djokovic and all other players will be allowed to compete in 2022 Australian Open only if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19.

World No. 1 Djokovic, a nine-time winner of the tournament, has yet to announce if he has been vaccinated and has stated that he will wait until the organisers divulge the health regulations before deciding whether or not to compete.

The season’s first Grand Slam is set to begin on January 17 in Melbourne, Victoria.

“Everyone on site – the fans, the staff, and the players – will need to be vaccinated in order to participate in this year’s Australian Open,” tournament president Craig Tiley said on Saturday.

“Novak’s situation has been the subject of much conjecture. He has openly stated that it is a private matter. We’d love to have Novak here, but he’s aware that he needs to get vaccinated in order to play.”

If he defends his title early next year, Djokovic, 34, will have won a record-breaking 21st men’s Grand Slam title.

Djokovic insisted this week at the season-ending ATP Tour finals in Turin: “You should have the ability to select what you want to do. In this scenario, what you want to put into your body.”

Djokovic provoked outrage last year when he wrote a letter during the tournament’s build-up urging that the strict 14-day quarantine requirements for top players be loosened.

In 2020, his charity event in Belgrade was a flop, with a number of top players, including Djokovic, testing positive after competing in a tournament that looked to disregard social distancing.

Unvaccinated tennis players may be allowed to participate but will face two weeks of strict quarantine and constant testing, according to a letter given to WTA players last month.

That, however, ran counter to earlier federal and state government counsel.

Tiley stated that he has been promised that top female players Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka would compete in Melbourne.

“I spoke with Serena in the last 48 hours, and she is ready to come here in January,” he added.

Following the relaxation of Covid-19 limitations earlier this week in Victoria, it was also stated at the tournament announcement that there will be no crowd limits at Melbourne Park.

Due to the coronavirus epidemic, spectator numbers at the 2021 Australian Open were limited, and a five-day lockdown was imposed midway through the event.

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