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Novak Djokovic granted medical exemption for Australian Open

Associated Press: John Minchillo
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, reacts to cheers from the crowd during the men’s singles final against Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, of the US Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in New York.

Tennis star Novak Djokovic has been granted a medical exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement by authorities to defend his Australian Open tennis title this year. 

Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, revealed on his personal Instagram account that he was en-route to Australia on Tuesday to compete in the tournament, which begins Jan. 17.

The 34-year-old revealed on Instagram that he had “exemption permission.”

The Australian Open requires all players, fans and officials to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, or receive a medical exemption, in order to participate. 

Tennis Australia said Djokovic had applied for a medical exemption that was granted after a “rigorous review process” involving two separate independent panels of medical experts, Reuters reported.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said in a statement that “fair and independent protocols” had been established for assessing medical exemption applications at the Australian Open, according to the newswire.

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

Previously, Australia’s immigration minister said that Djokovic must be vaccinated against COVID-19 if he wished to participate in the Australian Open.

“I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He’ll need to be double vaccinated,” Alex Hawke said to Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio in 2021, Reuters reported.

Djokovic, who is currently ranked as the world’s top singles player by the governing body for men’s tennis, the Association of Tennis Professionals, previously said his vaccination status was a “private matter” and that he was not sure if he would participate in the Australian Open due to the country’s vaccine mandate
 
He is currently tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam tournament victories at 20 apiece, and has been trying to make majors history in his quest for his 21st such win.
 
Federer will not participate in the Australian Open following an injury, while Nadal is set to take part after recovering from COVID-19.
Tags Australia australian open COVID-19 vaccine Novak Djokovic Tennis vaccine mandate
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