Novak Djokovic ordered to justify his vaccination status before the Australian Open

The medical exemption granted to Novak Djokovic, who has never communicated on his vaccination status, to participate in the Australian Open arouses indignant reactions in the country. The president of the tennis federation urged, this Wednesday, January 5, the Serbian player to reveal the reasons for this exemption.

“It would certainly be useful if Novak explained the conditions under which he requested and obtained an exemption”Tennis Australia boss Craig Tiley, also director of the first Grand Slam of the year, told reporters on Wednesday.

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“I encourage him to talk to the community about this… We have been going through a very difficult time over the past two years and I would appreciate some responses to that”, he added.

“No preferential treatment”

The Australian tennis boss, however, said that the world number 1 had not received any preferential treatment to obtain this exemption, during a process supervised by the Australian authorities and those of the State of Victoria.

26 players, or members of their staff, out of the 3,000 expected in Australia, have requested an exemption and only a few of them have obtained it, he revealed.

“Anyone who meets the conditions has been allowed to enter. There was no special favor. There was no special treatment given to Novak ”, insisted Craig Tiley.

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He indicated that the two commissions responsible for examining exemption requests did so without knowing the identity of the applicants.

Already winner of twenty Grand Slams, like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic is aiming for a 21e record title in Melbourne. The Australian Open, which begins on January 17, is his favorite tournament: it is in Melbourne that the Serbian won his first Grand Slam (2008), and no one has won there as much as him (nine victories ).

“I am not for vaccines”

For months, “Nole” had cast doubt on his participation in the first Grand Slam of the year, due to the obligation for players to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter Australia.

From the United States to France, the very bad fever of antivax

The world number 1 spoke in April 2020 against compulsory vaccination, then considered to allow the resumption of tournaments. “Personally, I am not for vaccines. I would not like someone to force me to be vaccinated to travel ”, he then said.

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He finally announced Tuesday that he had obtained a medical exemption allowing him to make the trip. Australian regulations provide for this type of exemption in five specific cases (having contracted Covid-19 in the previous six months, serious medical contraindication, etc.) but the federation, citing medical confidentiality, refused to say which applied to Djokovic.

An uproar in Australia

This decision sparked an uproar in Australia, where the measures put in place to fight Covid-19 have been particularly strict since the start of the pandemic.

This is a “Spit in the face of every inhabitant of the state of Victoria and every Australian”, wrote former tennis player Sam Groth, who became a television commentator, in a column published by the Melbourne daily “Herald Sun”.

“You mean you have an exemption, but you don’t mean why? It’s disgusting hypocrisy ”, he added.

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“I believe that if it was me who was not vaccinated, I would not have obtained an exemption”British doubles player Jamie Murray, who is currently competing in the ATP Cup in Sydney, also complained.

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And a prominent Australian doctor, Stephen Parnis, blasted on Twitter a “Distressing message” : “I don’t care if he’s a good tennis player. If he refuses to be vaccinated, he should not be allowed in. “

“If this exemption is true, it sends a distressing message to the millions of people who seek to reduce the risk of Covid-19 in Australia for themselves and for others”, judged the doctor.

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