The world’s best tennis player will not reveal whether he has been vaccinated, and it could cost him a place at the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic will not be allowed to play at next year’s Australian Open if he is not fully vaccinated.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke confirmed on Wednesday morning that any sports stars hoping to compete in Australian competitions this coming summer would need to have had both doses of a TGA-approved vaccine.
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“Our health advice is that when we open the borders, everyone that comes to Australia will have to be double vaccinated,” Mr Hawke told RN Breakfast.
Mr Hawke’s blunt message comes after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday he did not think unvaccinated tennis players would get a visa to enter the country. If they did, he said they would face quarantine and vaccinated players would not.
“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country,” he told reporters.
“If they did get a visa, they‘d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks when no other players will have to.
“I don’t think any other tennis player, or golfer, or Formula One driver, will even get a visa to get here.
“The vaccine doesn’t care what your tennis ranking is or how many Grand Slams you have won. Sorry, the virus does not care.
“Professional sport is part of that authorised worker list and they have to be double-dose vaccinated.”
Later on Wednesday, Health Minister Greg Hunt added: “Our rules are clear, they apply to everyone without fear or favour. It doesn’t matter where you are number one in the world or anything else.”
Djokovic, the top ranked male player in the world who is chasing his fourth straight Australian Open title and 10th overall, has declined to reveal whether he has been vaccinated, telling Serbian newspaper Blic earlier this week that it was a “private matter”.
“Things beings as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” Djokovic said.
“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.
“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.
“I am following the situation regarding the Australian Open … I believe there will be a lot of restrictions just like this year, but I doubt there will be too many changes.”
At the 2021 Australian Open tournament, Djokovic publicly criticised the Australian government for its mandatory two weeks quarantine.
Djokovic contracted Covid-19 last year and was widely panned for hosting a party at which other people also contracted the virus.
The 34-year-old last competed at the US Open, losing to Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final, but said he planned to compete in the Paris Masters, the season-ending ATP Finals in Turin and the Davis Cup before the end of 2021.
Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula last week told SEN that if he “was an ATP or WTA player, “I’d be getting vaccinated” because it would give them “the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open with the more minimal restrictions”.
British tennis star Andy Murray said he would “support” any move from the Victorian government to impose harsher quarantine restrictions on unvaccinated players arriving for the Australian Open.
“My understanding is if you’re unvaccinated, you’re still allowed to play, it’s just the rules are going to be different,” Murray told reporters after his loss at the Indian Wells tournament.
“Obviously, Australia in particular has been very, very strict over there.
“It’s not to say you can’t play. You just might have to leave a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That’s the player’s choice.
“If the local government puts that in place, then yeah, I would support that.”
With Russell Gould
Originally published as Novak Djokovic won’t be allowed into Australia unless fully vaccinated