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Australian Open 2022: Djokovic gets medical exemption to travel Down Under

The World No. 1 Serb took to Instagram to reveal he has got 'an exemption permission' to travel to Australia.

Edited by: India TV Sports Desk Melbourne Updated on: January 04, 2022 19:03 IST
Novak Djokovic
Image Source : GETTY IMAGES

File photo of Novak Djokovic.


  • Djokovic has continually refused to reveal if he is vaccinated against the coronavirus
  • Australian Open organisers stated only vaccinated players can play while exemptions can be alllowed
  • If Djokovic plays at the year's first major, he will seek a record 21st Grand Slam singles title

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic seems all set to be participating in the year's first Grand Slam in the Australian Open as the 34-year-old Serb took to Instagram to reveal he has got “an exemption permission” to travel to Australia.

Djokovic, who is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam singles title, has continually refused to reveal if he is vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The Victoria state government has mandated that all players, staff and fans attending the Australian Open must be fully vaccinated unless there is a genuine reason why an exemption should be granted.

Australian Open organisers issued a statement later on Tuesday to confirm Djokovic will be allowed to compete at the tournament, which starts on January 17, and is on his way to Australia.

He earlier withdrew from Serbia's team for the ATP Cup, which started last weekend in Sydney.

"Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts,” the statement said. "One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health.

They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation guidelines."

Tennis Australia said the process included the redaction of personal information to ensure privacy for all applicants, meaning Djokovic was not obliged to make his exemption public.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “ ...Fair and independent protocols were established for assessing medical exemption applications that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everyone.

"Central to this process was that the decisions were made by independent medical experts and that every applicant was given due consideration.”

Victoria state Deputy Premier James Merlino last month said medical exemptions were “not a loophole for privileged tennis players".

"It is a medical exemption in exceptional circumstances if you have an acute medical condition,” Merlino said at a news conference.

The decision announced on Tuesday will be widely debated in a city which endured months of strict lockdowns and harsh travel restrictions at the height of the pandemic.

Reaction on social media quickly turned to questions about the grounds for Djokovic’s medical exemption, and what quarantine conditions he will have to meet on arrival in Australia.

Last year, all foreign players had to spend two weeks in hotel quarantine before the Australian Open, pushing the year's first major back from its usual mid-January start.

There were also strict caps on crowd numbers, and several days when fans weren't allowed into Melbourne Park when coronavirus cases surged.

The 34-year-old Serbian has won nine of his 20 major titles at the Australian Open. He shares the men’s record for most majors with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

(Reported by AP)


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