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Unvaccinated Pierre-Hugues Herbert does not "feel wronged" by Djokovic's medical exemption into Australian Open
"I would not like to be in his place when he gets off the flight, because I don't think he will be greeted like a No. 1 in the world," the Frenchman shared with L'Equipe.
Published Jan 05, 2022
TC Live: Discussing Djokovic and the medical exemption process
Pierre-Hugues Herbert decided not to play the Australian Open in large part because he is not vaccinated, but says he is unbothered by Novak Djokovic receiving an exemption for the event.
The No. 1-ranked Djokovic announced that he is traveling to Australia with "exemption permission" to compete at the Australian Open. Players entering Australia for the Melbourne major are required to be vaccinated or receive a medical exemption approved by two independent panels.
"I'm not shocked, nor do I feel wronged," Herbert told L'Equipe. "I don't think he is the only one who has got one [an exemption]. And I would not like to be in his place when he gets off the flight, because I don't think he will be greeted like a No. 1 in the world.
"If his exemption was accepted, it was for valid reasons. Having experienced the rigorousness of the Australian Open the previous year, I thought the answer would be negative. And I'm surprised, pleasantly."
According to Australian Open officials, 26 players, team members or personnel applied for exemptions and a "handful" received them. Names and other identification were removed for assessment on the applications.
Herbert said he had not sought an exemption.
"No, I didn't have a valid reason,'' he said, adding that he had had an ultrasound which revealed no problems and been tested for antibodies and been negative.
But the Frenchman is concerned that it will be increasingly difficult for unvaccinated players to compete on tour, pointing especially to the introduction of French requirements.
"I haven't yet succeeded in getting myself vaccinated. It's a debate I have with myself every day," Herbert said, adding that he was "shooting myself in the foot, but I'm free to refuse to get vaccinated."
Ranked No. 110 in singles, he is No. 8 in doubles.