Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiely has said that no tennis players hoping to compete at the competition have yet been granted medical exemption from vaccination. He reiterated that everyone at Melbourne Park would need to be fully vaccinated. Tiley also said that Novak Djokovic being named on the Australian Open entry list on Wednesday implied nothing about his COVID-19 vaccination status, which the defending champion has declined to disclose, citing privacy.
“To be clear up front, no one can play the Australian Open unless they are vaccinated,” Tiley told the ABC.
“The only condition at which, outside of being vaccinated, that you could compete is if you receive a medically approved exemption from Australian authorities.
“I’ve seen reports this morning. There’s been no medical exemptions that have been granted at this point.”
Meanwhile Tiley added that appearing on the entry list had no bearing on whether Djokovic would actually feature in the tournament from January 17-30 in Melbourne. The Serbian is seeking a 10th Australian Open title and a record 21st men’s Grand Slam singles titles.
“Everyone goes on the entry list,” Tiley said. “It’s not a commitment list about exactly who’s in the draw. That comes in several weeks’ time when the actual list and draw gets finalised for the Australian Open.”
Serena Williams wasn’t on the list , having decided not to compete on advice from her medical team, and neither was Roger Federer who is still recovering from a knee surgery.
Williams won the last of her seven Australian open titles in 2017, had an injury-disrupted season and hasn’t played since being retired hurt due to leg injury during the first-round match at Wimbledon.
Djokovic said last week that he would be making a decision “very soon” about whether to travel to Australia or not. His father Srdjan said last month that Djokovic was unlikely to play and described the vaccination requirement as being akin to “blackmail”.