Victoria’s deputy premier has poured cold water on “privileged tennis players” like world No.1 tennis star Novak Djokovic utilizing a medical exemption to enter the Australian Open.
Djokovic has been named for Serbia’s ATP Cup title defence in Sydney, elevating hopes he shall be accessible for the Australian summer time of tennis and the Melbourne grand slam.
However the thriller over his vaccination standing has taken one other dramatic flip amid unverified claims he has ‘grounds’ for a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine.
The 34-year-old’s potential participation with out being totally vaccinated was reported as a loophole, a claim denied by training minister James Merlino.
“My view on this is is really clear and really simple,” Mr Merlino advised reporters on Wednesday morning.
“Everyone’s looking forward to the Australian Open and everyone who will attend – spectators, players, officials, staff – is expected to be fully vaccinated.
“They’re the rules. Medical exemptions are just that – it’s not a loophole for privileged tennis players.
“It is a medical exemption in exceptional circumstances if you have an acute medical condition.
“My view and, I think, the view of all Victorians, the expectation of all Victorians is that everyone who attends the Open – players, spectators, staff, officials – (is) fully vaccinated.”
Mr Merlino stated the Commonwealth units the phrases for medical exemptions however reiterated there are few respectable causes to stay unvaccinated.
Tennis Australia denied any involvement in in search of exemptions for gamers.
“All players, participants and staff at the Australian Open have to be vaccinated,” TA stated in a press release on Wednesday.
“Any application for a medical exemption must follow strict government guidelines based on ATAGI clinical advice. This is the same process that applies to any person wanting to enter Australia.
“Any suggestion that Tennis Australia is seeking ‘loopholes’ within this process is simply untrue. Adjudicating on medical exemptions is the domain of independent medical experts. We are not in a position to influence this process and nor would we.
“The safety of everyone is always our priority as we plan for Australian Open 2022 and all lead-in events.”
The timeline for Djokovic to make clear his standing is closing in, with the Australian Open entry listing set to shed additional mild on the Serbian’s plans.
However a vaccine exemption request would possible go away an asterisk on his arrival and participation till it may be assessed by Australian medical officers.
Djokovic’s look at an occasion solely open to completely vaccinated folks through the US Open in New York this yr led to hypothesis that he had acquired each doses.
He has solely stated his vaccination standing is a non-public matter and denied claims that he’s towards vaccines.
Supercars driver David Reynolds lately grew to become the primary Australian athlete recognized to have an exemption rejected.
The 36-year-old’s standing was scrutinised by NSW well being officers, who discovered he didn’t have a respectable purpose to not be vaccinated.
Reynolds subsequently acquired each doses of a vaccine to return to the monitor.