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Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley confirms unvaccinated tennis players ruled out of 2022 Australian Open
“When we’re in a state where there’s more than 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated, it’s the right thing to do,” the Tennis Australia CEO told “The Today Show” Saturday morning from Melbourne.
Published Nov 19, 2021
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Tennis players who aren’t fully vaccinated will not be welcome into Australia next January for the country’s summer swing of events, including the Australian Open.
Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley first confirmed the decision in an interview with The Today Show Saturday morning from Melbourne. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews previously asserted those without the COVID-19 vaccine could not enter the country, doubling down on statements from Prime Minister Scott Morrison that unvaccinated competitors would be permitted to do so provided they underwent a two-week hard quarantine.
“It’s been made very clear when the Premier announced several weeks ago that in order to participate at the Australian Open, to come into Victoria, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated. Immediately, we communicated that to the playing group,” said Tiley.
“It is the one direction that you take, that you can ensure everyone’s safety. All the playing group understands it. Our patrons will need to be vaccinated, all the staff working the Australian Open need to be vaccinated.
“When we’re in a state where there’s more than 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated, it’s the right thing to do.”
When presenter and journalist Jayne Azzopardi inquired about the status of nine-time champion Novak Djokovic, Tiley responded, “We’re expecting Novak to come.
“The good news is that most of the tennis players, both on men and women’s side, are fully vaccinated. Novak, as he’s previously said, that’s a private issue for him. He’s always said that the Australian Open is the event that puts the wind in his sails.
“I hope we get to see Novak.”
Tiley additionally shared that the governing body is planning for full attendance and fan representation from across the nation's states. At February’s delayed event, which was partially held behind closed doors, Djokovic and Naomi Osaka lifted the singles trophies. Session attendance over the fortnight was capped at 50 percent. Rod Laver Arena can house upwards of 15,000 spectators per session when at capacity.
“Our intention with the Australian Open is to bring Australia back in a good way,” he said.
We’re expecting Novak to come. The good news is that most of the tennis players, both on men and women’s side, are fully vaccinated. Novak, as he’s previously said, that’s a private issue for him. He’s always said that the Australian Open is the event that puts the wind in his sails. I hope we get to see Novak. Craig Tiley
During the tournament's official launch event Saturday afternoon, Tiley provided a rough timeline of when to expect player fields to be released.
”Entry in here will be determined by around early to the middle of December on the entry deadline. So in the next couple of weeks, you will have a really good indication of where everyone’s at because at that point, there’s an official list of who’s going to be here.”
Azzopardi also brought up the concerning Peng Shuai situation with Tiley. The former doubles world No. 1 has been unaccounted for since November 2, when her #MeToo allegation against former vice premier Zhang Gaoli was censored from her Weibo account.
“The very first action that we’ve taken at Tennis Australia is to inquire directly to the tours about her safety,” he said. “Whatever resources we’ve had at our disposal, we’ve acted to ensure one she’s safe but also to send a message that we are ready to support and make sure her well-being is taken care of.”
Peng was a finalist in the women’s doubles event four years ago alongside Andrea Sestini Hlavackova, and has twice reached the round of 16 in singles (2011, 2015).
We'll continue to update this ongoing story.