The last doubts have just vanished: the world number one Novak Djokovic, who has never communicated his vaccination status, announced on Tuesday, January 4, on social networks, that he was leaving for Australia thanks to a ” exemption “, two weeks before the start of the Australian Open tennis tournament, which runs January 17-30.
“I had a great time with my loved ones during the holidays and today I’m leaving for Down Under (Australia) with a waiver. Ahead of 2022 “, wrote the Serbian on his Instagram account to accompany a photo of him taken at the airport with a bag of snowshoes.
The Australian Tennis Federation, host of the Australian Open, then confirmed in a statement: “Djokovic requested a medical exemption which was granted to him after a rigorous examination [de sa demande] involving two different and independent groups of medical experts. Novak Djokovic will be competing in the Australian Open and he’s on his way. “
For months, the Serbian tennis player has been in doubt – due to the obligation for players to be vaccinated to enter Australia – on his participation in the first of the 2022 Grand Slam tournaments, where he will aim for a twenty-first major title , he who had equaled Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal (twenty each) by winning at Wimbledon last year.
The Australian Open, which he has won nine times, is his favorite tournament: it was in Melbourne, in 2008, that the 35-year-old won his first Grand Slam title, and no one is imposed there as much as him. “I don’t know if I’m going to go to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. The situation is currently not good ”, he had declared to the Serbian daily Flash in October 2021. He then refused to say if he was vaccinated or not. “It’s a private matter” he had replied.
ATP Cup package
After new evasive statements about his coming to Australia, his unjustified package for the ATP Cup, a few days before this team tournament organized in Sydney from 1is on January 9, had further thickened the doubt about his participation in the Australian Open.
He 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 during a conversation with several Serbian sportsmen on his Facebook page.
The Serb had, in June of the same year, been criticized for having organized, in defiance of any health precaution (full stadium without wearing a mask, hugs between players on the court, joint dinners and nightclub outings), the Adria Tour, a traveling charity tournament in the Balkans.
At the end of this tournament, Djokovic had tested positive for Covid-19, just like his compatriot Viktor Troicki, the Croatian Borna Coric and the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov. “I am deeply sorry that our tournament could have caused such damage”, apologized Djokovic at the time. “We were wrong, it was too early” to organize such a tournament, he admitted.
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Tennis: Novak Djokovic announces having obtained a “derogation” to go to Australia to play the Open