The ball is on the side of Novak Djokovic on the court.
Craig Tiley, head of the Australian Open, confirmed on Saturday that all tennis players attending the first Grand Slam tournament in 2022 will need to have received all required doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
That requirement includes players and calls into question the participation of Djokovic, defending champion of Australia, where he has been crowned nine times.
The Serbian, who has declined to say whether he is vaccinated, would seek to set a record, winning what would be his 21st Grand Slam singles title.
The tournament will take place January 17-30. The Victorian state government had previously warned that only vaccinated people could enter the event venue.
Tyley ratified that position on Saturday.
“Everyone in the venue, the fans, the staff and the players, will need to be vaccinated,” Tiley said during the official launch of the contest. “There is a lot of concern about the position of Novak, who has said that this is a private matter.
“We would love to have Novak here, but he knows he needs to be vaccinated to play. He has always said that the Australian Open is the event that puts the wind in its sails ”.
The edict that will prohibit those who are not vaccinated from playing was issued by the state government at the end of October. It implies that the Australian Open will be the first Grand Slam tournament where the COVID vaccine is mandatory for players.
Victoria has been the most affected state in Australia, with 1,268 deaths due to the pandemic, among the total of 1,922 registered in the country. As of Saturday, Victoria had concentrated 109,000 of the 194,000 cases of the disease in Australia.
Melbourne and other towns and areas in Victoria have been subject to prolonged lockdowns, including curfews, for the past 18 months.
“This became very clear weeks ago when the Prime Minister (Daniel Andrews) announced that in order to participate in the Australian Open and to come to Victoria, you needed to be fully vaccinated,” Tiley said on a morning TV show. “We immediately communicate that to the group of tennis players. It is the only decision that can be made to guarantee everyone’s safety.”