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Djokovic Granted Covid-19 Vaccine Exemption to Play in Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic, the world’s No. 1-ranked male tennis participant and his sport’s most outstanding vaccination skeptic, mentioned on Tuesday that he would play in this month’s Australian Open after receiving a medical exemption.

Djokovic, the lads’s event’s defending champion, revealed his plans in a put up on his Instagram account alongside {a photograph} of himself with baggage on an airport tarmac. “I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission,” he wrote. “Let’s go 2022.”

Tournament officers confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that Djokovic had acquired a medical exemption after a assessment of his software by two impartial panels, a process that strongly suggests he stays unvaccinated.

Djokovic’s participation in the Australian Open, the tennis season’s first main, was in doubt as not too long ago as final week, when he reportedly withdrew from an occasion in Sydney. Djokovic, who has had Covid, has persistently refused to say whether or not he has been inoculated or intends to be.

According to the principles for the Australian Open, all members have to be vaccinated towards the coronavirus or apply for and obtain a medical exemption from an impartial panel of consultants.

In December, Djokovic’s father, Srdjan Djokovic, raised new questions on his son’s participation, and his vaccination standing, when he steered that Djokovic was unlikely to play in Australia “under these blackmails and conditions.”

Those feedback got here solely days earlier than Novak Djokovic was named as a participant in the Australian Open by the event’s organizers once they launched the entry listing for the primary draw.

“Defending champion Djokovic will play for an incredible 10th Australian Open trophy — and a men’s record 21st major singles title — and will be the favorite in a draw which showcases 49 of the world’s top 50,” the event mentioned in a press release saying the sphere.

But Craig Tiley, the chief govt of Tennis Australia, which hosts the event, rapidly moved to make clear that Djokovic’s inclusion in the entry listing was not a affirmation that he had agreed to be vaccinated, or that he could be allowed to enter Australia, which has among the world’s most strict coronavirus protocols for foreigners.

“As a matter of course, everyone goes on the entry list,” Tiley mentioned in a local television interview on the time. “It’s not a commitment list about who’s exactly in the draw. That comes in several weeks’ time, when the actual list, and draw, gets finalized for the Australian Open.”

The Open’s draw might be held Jan. 10. The event begins on Jan. 17.