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No vaccine exceptions for Australian Open entrants, says government
The announcement that all visitors will need to be double vaccinated comes when just over half of all ATP and WTA players have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Published Oct 20, 2021
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Players will be required to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter Australia and play the Australian Open, government ministers have confirmed—the first time such a requirement has been imposed on tour.
This is the consequence of broader regulation around reopening the country to international travel, said minister Alex Hawke. "I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated," he told ABC Radio.
Currently, 35 percent of those on the ATP Tour and 40 percent of the WTA Tour have not been vaccinated, notes the Melbourne Age.
There is a lot of speculation about the effect this will have on Novak Djokovic's participation in particular, with the No. 1 recently telling Blic that he does not want to reveal his status.
"Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne," he said.
Both No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas and No.8 Dominic Thiem also had been initially reluctant but have now said they plan to get vaccinated before the start of next season.
There will be no exceptions for players in order to allow them to compete at the Australian Open. "It doesn't matter if you are No. 1 in the world or you are anything else," said Health Minister Greg Hunt.
The Premier of Victoria, Dan Andrews, has indicated that he backs the federal government's plans, and officials could impose a similar requirement for professional athletes competing in sporting events including the Australian Open in Melbourne.
Tennis Australia, which has been coordinating with both levels of government, is expected to announce its tournament protocols next week. Players at this year's Australian Open were required to do two weeks of quarantine. That, at least, looks unlikely this time around.
The ATP and WTA tours do not require players to be vaccinated to play events. Tournaments, nevertheless, must follow any additional national or regional restrictions.