Australian Open: no special offers to allow unvaccinated players to play
World number one Djokovic, up to 20 Grand Slam titles with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, refused to reveal his vaccine status again this week and said he was not sure if he would defend his crown of Australian Open as authorities establish Covid-19 restrictions for the tournament.
Victoria Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has said he opposes special arrangements allowing unvaccinated athletes to compete in the state, which is set to host the Grand Slam at Melbourne Park in January.
“On the issue of vaccination, no,” he said during a press briefing.
“(The virus) doesn’t care how you rank in tennis or how many Grand Slam tournaments you’ve won. It doesn’t matter. You need to be vaccinated to keep yourself and others safe.”
Tennis Australia, which hosts the Grand Slam, declined to comment.
Victoria, who is due to emerge from a nearly three-month lockdown this week, recently included professional athletes in a vaccine mandate covering millions of “authorized workers,” without specifying whether this applied to athletes from across the country. sea or other Australian states.
Andrews suggested the mandate also covered international athletes.
“Professional sport is one of those (items on the) list of authorized workers and they need to be double-dose vaccinated,” he said.
Andrews said Victoria’s position could be a “moot point” given that the federal government may not issue visas to unvaccinated athletes.
“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player will get a visa to enter this country and if he does get one he should probably be quarantined for a few weeks,” he added.
“I don’t think the person you specified (Djokovic) or any other tennis player, don’t personalize it… or the golfer or the Formula 1 driver will even get a visa to come here.
“If I’m wrong, I’m sure the federal government will let you know.”
The federal government’s Home Office was unable to provide immediate comment.
Australia’s borders have been closed to non-residents during the pandemic, although authorities have issued visas to athletes and sports personnel for major events, including the last Australian Open in February.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government will ease border controls for residents and family members based abroad from next month, but international tourists and other visa classes will have to wait longer . Read more
Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has been closed since August as authorities rushed to contain an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant. Read more
Restrictions for the city’s 5 million residents will be eased from Friday, when 70% of Victoria’s adult population is expected to be fully vaccinated.
Unvaccinated people, however, will remain excluded from sporting events as well as restaurants, pubs and other sectors of the economy.
Andrews said the ban on unvaccinated fans could apply until the 2022 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in April.
“It’s there for a while … we’re not going to basically encourage people not to get the vaccine because they think they can wait a few months or a few weeks,” he said.
“You can’t wait for the coronavirus.”