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Australian Open: local authorities will refuse unvaccinated players, Djokovic absent?

by archysport

Could Novak Djokovic defend his title and try to clinch a 10th victory at the Australian Open? Two months before the southern tournament, which launches the tennis season (January 17 to 30), the question is on everyone’s lips. But the trend is rather for a package of the world number 1. The latter publicly took a stand against the vaccine in April 2020 and still refuses to say if it is vaccinated.

However, the Prime Minister of the State of Victoria said on Wednesday that there would be no privilege for tennis players wanting to play the Grand Slam. “We exclude unvaccinated people from pubs, cafes, restaurants and the CWM (Editor’s note: Melbourne’s main cricket stadium) and all kinds of other events, says Daniel Andrews. We will not ask for an exemption. Therefore, the question is fundamentally resolved. In other words, an unvaccinated player will not be able to put their tennis shoes on Australian soil.

This recall from local authorities may mark the end of the soap opera that has been shaking up world tennis for weeks. An email from the WTA, organizer of the women’s professional tour, which leaked earlier this week, suggested that players who had not been vaccinated against the coronavirus could participate in the tournament provided they respect a quarantine of 14 days.

Local governments have their own entry requirements

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison then said unvaccinated players would be allowed to enter the country if they received an exemption, which the host state, Victoria, was to apply for on their behalf. But the state of Victoria has therefore ruled out this possibility.

It is indeed the Australian federal government that controls the country’s borders and issues entry visas, but during the pandemic, state governments decided on their own entry conditions (quarantine, compulsory vaccination).

According to the ATP, in charge of the men’s professional circuit, and the WTA, contacted by AFP, approximately 65% ​​of players and more than 60% of female players are vaccinated.

For the 2021 edition of the Australian Open, scheduled for February instead of January, the players and their coaches had to observe a quarantine of two weeks in hotels, before being able to circulate freely. The spectator gauge had been set at 30,000 per day, or 50% of the capacity. During the tournament, a five-day lockdown was declared in the state of Victoria.

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