Novak Djokovic will need to be vaccinated to play Australian Open, says immigration minister | Tennis News

Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said foreign players would need to have had two vaccination shots to play at the Australian Open in January, while health minister Greg Hunt said the country’s rules were about protecting Australians

Last Updated: 20/10/21 8:26am

Novak Djokovic's Australian Open title defence and Grand Slam record bid could be in doubt if he is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open title defence and Grand Slam record bid could be in doubt if he is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19

All players who want a visa to compete in the Australian Open will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the country’s immigration minister said on Wednesday.

Djokovic, who will be bidding to land a record 21st Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne, has declined to reveal his vaccination status, and has said he is unsure if he would defend his Australian Open crown.

Djokovic is level with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles

Djokovic is level with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal on 20 Grand Slam titles

Clarifying Australia’s visa requirements, Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said foreign players would need to have had two vaccination shots to play the Grand Slam in January.

“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 told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

“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.”

Both tours have urged players to get vaccinated but some have voiced reservations.

Germany's Alexander Zverev has expressed scepticism about the vaccination shot

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has expressed scepticism about the vaccination shot

US Open champion Daniil Medvedev and world No 4 Alexander Zverev have expressed scepticism about the shot, although their vaccination status remains unknown.

Greek world No 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas said in August he would only get vaccinated if it became mandatory, though later said he planned to have shots before the end of the year.

Greg Hunt, Australia's health minister, says the vaccination rules apply to everyone

Greg Hunt, Australia’s health minister, says the vaccination rules apply to everyone

Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt said the country’s rules were about protecting Australians.

“They apply to everyone without fear or favour. It doesn’t matter whether you are number one in the world or you are anything else,” he told a media conference.

Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, has been locked down since August due to an outbreak of the highly infectious Delta variant but will begin to open up on Friday, when 70 per cent of the adult population in Victoria is expected to be fully vaccinated.

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