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Australian Open: Tennis Star Novak Đoković Is Allowed To Play Unvaccinated In Australia

Novak Đoković is probably not vaccinated, but will take part in the Australian Open despite the strict vaccination rules. He got a special permit.

Those who are not vaccinated against Corona are currently not allowed to travel to Australia. An exception for Novak Đoković, which allows him to take part in the Australian Open, has now sparked a debate: the Serbian world number one in Melbourne will probably compete in Melbourne without the actually required vaccination.

"Happy New Year everyone," the 34-year-old wrote almost two weeks before the tournament started on Instagram: 

I spent a fantastic time with my loved ones during the break and today I'm traveling down under with a special permit. Let's go 2022 !!
According to a statement from the Australian Tennis Association, Đoković received permission from independent experts.

A fine of 5,000 euros and a reprimand

The regulations actually provide that only players who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus or who fall under a medical exception are allowed to compete in Australia. Đoković had repeatedly left his vaccination status open and declared it a private matter. Now he did not reveal the secret with a clear statement, but indirectly: The exception rule suggests that the tennis star is not vaccinated.

Exceptions for a handful of unvaccinated players

The organizers announced that the 20-time Grand Slam tournament winner had applied for a medical exception and that it had been granted after a strict review in which two independent expert panels were involved. One of the bodies was appointed by the Ministry of Health of the Australian state of Victoria.

The WWE Champion

Fair and strict rules for medical exemption applications have been put in place so that the Australian Open is "safe and enjoyable for everyone," said tournament director Craig Tiley. The central point is that independent experts have made the decision. According to Australian newspaper The Age, Tiley announced over the weekend that a handful of unvaccinated players had been granted exemptions.

Đoković is a staunch opponent of vaccinations

Australia had sealed itself off for a long time during the Corona crisis, and the pandemic was fought with tough measures. Melbourne was locked down for a long time. In early December, Deputy Prime Minister James Merlino said there were only a limited number of reasons for an exemption. "Medical exceptions are just that - it is not a loophole for privileged tennis players," said Merlino, according to the broadcaster ABC. "It is a medical exception under exceptional circumstances when you have an acute illness."

"Don't Tell Anyone ... Here I Am"

Đoković caused a sensation several times during the Corona crisis. He had already positioned himself as an opponent of vaccinations in spring 2020. "Personally, I am against vaccinations. I don't want someone forcing me to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel," the Serb said. He also made headlines with the Adria Tour in summer 2020, which he helped organize, in which the corona virus was dealt with carelessly and which had come under heavy criticism: party pictures appeared that did not fit into the Corona times. Đoković himself was infected during the Adria Tour last year.

The vaccination requirements for the Australian Open have been known since November. The world number one had for a short time renounced his originally announced start at the currently running ATP Cup in Sydney, the team event that serves as preparation.

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