Djokovic given a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open

Brisbane, Australia-Novak Djokovic has a chance to defend the Australian Open title after receiving a medical exemption from a trip to Melbourne and due to the strict COVID-19 vaccination requirements for the tournament, the number of participations End the uncertainty of the month.

Top-ranked Djokovic wrote an “exemption permit” on Instagram on Tuesday.

Seeking a record 21st Grand Slam singles title, Djokovic is constantly refusing to reveal whether he has been vaccinated with the coronavirus. The Victorian Government requires all athletes, staff and fans participating in the Australian Open to be fully vaccinated unless there is a real reason for tax exemption.

The Australian Open organizer issued a statement late Tuesday confirming that Djokovic will be able to compete in the tournament to Australia from January 17th. He withdrew earlier from the Serbian team due to the ATP Cup that started in Sydney last weekend.

“Djokovic has applied for a medical exemption granted after a rigorous review process involving two separate and independent panels of medical professionals,” the statement said. “One of them was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Board appointed by the Victorian Health Department. They evaluated all applications to see if they were compliant with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immune Guidelines. did.”

Tennis Australia said this process involves editing personal information to ensure the privacy of all applicants. This means that Djokovic was not obliged to announce his tax exemption.

Craig Tiley, Australian Open Tournament Director, said, “A fair and independent protocol for evaluating medical tax exemption applications has been established to ensure that the Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everyone. “.

“At the heart of this process was the decision made by an independent medical professional and the full consideration of all applicants,” said Tiley.

Victoria’s Deputy Premier James Merlino said last month that medical exemptions were “not a loophole for privileged tennis players.”

“If you have an acute medical condition, it’s a medical exemption in exceptional circumstances,” Merlino said at a press conference.

The decision announced on Tuesday will be widely discussed in cities that have endured months of strict blockades and strict travel restrictions in the midst of a pandemic.

The reaction on social media quickly turned into questions about Djokovic’s tax exemption reasons and the quarantine conditions he must meet when he arrives in Australia.

Last year, all foreign players had to stay in the hotel quarantine for two weeks before the Australian Open, pushing the first major of the year back from the usual mid-January start. There was also a strict cap on the number of crowds, and there were days when fans were not allowed to enter Melbourne Park due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

34-year-old Djokovic has won nine of the 20 major titles at the Australian Open. He shares most major men’s records with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic hasn’t played at tour level since the Davis Cup final in early December and has recently been practicing in Spain. His post on social media announcing his travel plans to Australia was accompanied by a photo of Djokovic leaning on a tennis bag at the airport.

John Pai

Associated Press