Djokovic will be barred from attending Australian Open without vaccine, official says

Djokovic will be barred from attending Australian Open without vaccine, official says
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Novak Djokovic must be vaccinated against COVID-19 if he wishes to participate in the Australian Open, the country's immigration minister said on Wednesday.

"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, Reuters reported.

Australia requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter the country. 

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“You’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia. That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke said.

Djokovic, the world's top tennis player, recently said that his vaccination status was a "private matter" and that he's not sure if he will participate in the Australian Open due to the country's vaccine mandate, The Washington Post reported.

“Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic told a Serbian media outlet on Monday, according to the Post.

“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not. It is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry. People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person. Whatever you say, ‘Yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it,’ they will take advantage,” he added.

Djokovic is currently trying to make Grand Slam history in his quest for his 21st major this year. He is currently tied in first place with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

However, it's not just Djokovic who is at risk of being banned by the Australian Open authorities. 

More than a third of players on the men’s and women’s tours had not been fully vaccinated by the start of October, according to figures provided by the Association of Tennis Professionals, The Age newspaper reported.

Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the country's rules are in place to protect Australians.
 
"They apply to everyone without fear or favor. It doesn't matter whether you are No. 1 in the world or you are anything else," he told a media conference on Wednesday, CNN reported.