Australian Open to allow unvaccinated players amid Novak Djokovic refusal to disclose status

Unvaccinated players will be allowed to participate in January’s Australian Open, but will need to complete 14-days of hotel quarantine upon entry to Australia.

Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) players were notified of the conditions that both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated players will face in the first Grand Slam of 2022 after communications with tournament director Craig Tiley.

READ MORE: Woodbridge says Djokovic will have to reveal vaccination status

An email sent to players states unvaccinated players can arrive in Australia any time after December 1, but will need to undergo a mandatory two-week hard hotel quarantine period while also submitting to regular COVID-19 testing.

Fully vaccinated players can also arrive at any time after December 1, but will not be required to quarantine upon arrival and will have “complete freedom of movement”.

Despite the freedoms allowed, both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated players must produce a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their departure from their respective countries.

The Victorian government is yet to make an official announcement on the Australian Open, and leading tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg suggested Tennis Australia may have simply given players a best-case scenario.

“We’ve been hearing a pretty hard line from the Victorian Premier about this for weeks now and [he’s] being pretty ungiving,” he told Nine’s TODAY.

“I think that maybe this is Tennis Australia providing the players with perhaps a best-case scenario or the rosiest possible outlook.

“That’s something we saw with the 2021 Australian Open as well, that maybe Tennis Australia have been giving the players a bit rosier of a picture of what the guidelines would be and what the leniency would be than [what] actually would up being the case on the ground.”

Victorian Minister for Sport, Martin Pakula, told 3AW on Monday morning that the issue surrounding unvaccinated players was “not settled yet, and won’t be for a couple of weeks”, but added that they would either be not allowed into the country at all or be subjected to a hard 14-day quarantine period.

“I think the players were being told that there might still be quarantine for even vaccinated people, and so that was cleared up overnight,” he said. “That’s clearly not the case.”

“For unvaccinated people, whether they’ll be allowed into the country at all or whether they’ll be subjected to 14-days quarantine, it will be one or the other, and the absolute best thing for those players to do is to get vaccinated.

“I understand from a chat with Craig Tiley this morning that the vaccination rate among the players is rising pretty quickly now and it’s near enough to 80 per cent.”

While unvaccinated players will be allowed down under, it remains to be seen whether reigning men’s Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic makes the trip.

Djokovic said last week that he did not know whether he would travel to Australia for the tournament and refused to reveal his vaccination status.

The 2022 Australian Open is scheduled to commence at Melbourne Park on January 17 and will run through to the men’s singles final on January 30.

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