Djokovic Will Need to Be Vaccinated to Play Australian Open: Minister

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CANBERRA—Novak Djokovic volition not beryllium capable to participate Australia to support his Australian Open rubric unless helium is afloat vaccinated for COVID-19, the country’s migration curate said connected Wednesday, putting the Serb’s Grand Slam grounds bid successful doubt.

World fig 1 Djokovic, who is level with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal connected 20 Grand Slam titles, has declined to uncover his vaccination status, and said helium is unsure if helium volition support his Australian Open crown.

Clarifying Australia’s visa requirements, Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said overseas players would request to person had 2 vaccination shots to play the Grand Slam astatine Melbourne Park successful January.

“You’ll request to beryllium treble vaccinated to sojourn Australia. That’s a cosmopolitan application, not conscionable to tennis players. I mean that each visitant to Australia volition request to beryllium treble vaccinated,” Hawke told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

“I don’t person a connection to Novak. I person a connection to everybody that wishes to sojourn Australia. He’ll request to beryllium treble vaccinated.”

Apart from Serbian Djokovic, who has won 9 of his Grand Slam titles astatine the Australian Open and the past 3 successful succession astatine Melbourne Park, the regularisation could exclude scores of players from the tournament.

More than a 3rd of nonrecreational players stay unvaccinated, according to caller media reports.

Australian Open logo A idiosyncratic walks past an Australian Open logo astatine Melbourne Park successful Melbourne, Australia, connected Jan. 31, 2021. (Loren Elliott/Reuters)

Both the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tours person urged players to get vaccinated but immoderate person voiced reservations.

Russian men’s U.S. Open champion Daniil Medvedev and German satellite fig 4 Alex Zverev person expressed skepticism, though their vaccination presumption remains unknown.

Greek satellite fig 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas said successful August helium would lone get vaccinated if it became mandatory, though aboriginal said helium planned to person shots by the extremity of the year.

Tennis Australia, which organizes the Grand Slam, said it was moving with authorities connected conditions for players, fans, and tourney staff.

“Our knowing is that the details astir planetary visitors entering the state are yet to beryllium decided and we anticipation to person much accusation soon,” the governing assemblage said.

Australia’s wellness curate Greg Hunt said the country’s rules were astir protecting Australians.

“They use to everyone without fearfulness oregon favor. It doesn’t substance whether you are fig 1 successful the satellite oregon you are thing else,” helium told a media league connected Wednesday.

Australia has unopen its planetary borders to non-citizens and non-permanent residents for 18 months, though determination person been immoderate high-profile exceptions.

International question is expected to statesman for Australian citizens wrong weeks, but non-citizens are expected to beryllium unopen retired until early-2022.

Authorities successful Victoria state, which hosts the Australian Open, said they would not marque peculiar deals with unvaccinated athletes to let them to vie adjacent if they secured visas.

Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has been locked down since August owed to an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant but volition statesman to unfastened up connected Friday, erstwhile 70 percent of the big colonisation successful Victoria is expected to beryllium afloat vaccinated.

By Colin Packham