Tennis Australia has hit again at strategies it’s in search of to take advantage of a “loophole” in border entry guidelines so unvaccinated gamers can compete within the upcoming Australian Open, amid hypothesis about Novak Djokovic’s means to enter the nation.
On Wednesday morning, Victoria’s deputy premier, James Merlino, responded to a report that the world No 1 had the backing of Tennis Australia – the organisers of the Open – to use for an exemption on medical grounds after repeatedly refusing to disclose his vaccination standing.
Authorities officers have beforehand mentioned solely totally vaccinated gamers, their entourages, workers and followers might be granted entry to Melbourne Park for the season’s first grand slam from January 17-30.
Nonetheless Djokovic was this week introduced as a part of the Serbia group competing within the ATP Cup in Sydney in early January, fuelling hypothesis he might search to enter the nation by way of New South Wales, and will search a medical exemption to bypass the principles that apply to unvaccinated travellers.
“My view on that is actually clear and actually easy,” Merlino mentioned on Wednesday. “Everybody’s wanting ahead to the Australian Open and everybody who will attend – spectators, gamers, officers, workers – everybody is predicted to be totally vaccinated.”
“They’re the principles. Medical exemptions are simply that – it’s not a loophole for privileged tennis gamers …It’s a medical exemption in distinctive circumstances when you’ve got an acute medical situation,” Merlino mentioned.
Merlino added that decision-making powers to challenge exemptions are finally made by the Commonwealth.
Tennis Australia, in a press release launched afterward Wednesday that didn’t point out Djokovic by identify, mentioned “all gamers, contributors and workers on the Australian Open need to be vaccinated”.
“Any suggestion that Tennis Australia is in search of ‘loopholes’ inside this course of is just unfaithful. Adjudicating on medical exemptions is the area of impartial medical consultants. We aren’t able to affect this course of and nor would we.”
“Any utility for a medical exemption should comply with strict authorities tips primarily based on Atagi (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) medical recommendation. This is similar course of that applies to any individual eager to enter Australia,” the Tennis Australia assertion mentioned.
Tennis Australia is but to verify the checklist of gamers who might be competing on the upcoming Australian Open.
To play with out being vaccinated within the ATP Cup in Sydney, the NSW authorities must apply for an exemption and the 34-year-old must bear 14 days of quarantine upon arrival.
If unvaccinated, Djokovic must arrive in Sydney by 16 December with the intention to full the necessary 14-day quarantine for unvaccinated travellers earlier than the competitors begins on 1 January.
The Guardian contacted the NSW authorities for remark.
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