Australian Open tournament director clarifies rules ahead of competition
The 2022 Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley has confirmed that unvaccinated players will not be allowed to take part in the competition. There had been much confusion around the event in recent months, with Australian politicians giving contradictory statements over the issue.
This places the defending men’s champion, Novak Djokovic, into a compromising position, as he has previously stated he does not want to publicly reveal his vaccination status. Tiley said: “Novak knows he will have to be vaccinated to play, we would love to have him here.”
The tournament, which runs from 17-30 January, will be played in front of capacity crowds, the director confirmed. Latest figures shown to the BBC state 80 of the top 100 men’s players have now been vaccinated against Covid-19. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has yet to provide its figures publicly.
The WTA players’ council sent a letter to players in October informing them they had been told all competitors would be able to travel to the Melbourne event. They also stated that all players would have to show a negative test result within 72 hours of departure, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews contested this information, however, when he said in October that he doubted an unvaccinated tennis player would be given an Australian visa. This is due to the strict restrictions on travel and movement the country has had since the beginning of the pandemic. Players at the 2021 Australian Open had to complete a 14-day quarantine period when they arrived in the country. Some were confirmed to their rooms due to cases being detected on their flights, and the players set up makeshift practice points while in confinement.
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