‘Appalling message’: outrage over Novak Djokovic’s medical exemption to play Australian Open | Novak Djokovic

The choice to grant Novak Djokovic an exemption from Covid-19 vaccination necessities to play within the Australian Open in Melbourne has been labelled “appalling”, with some gamers expressing shock on the late determination.

On Tuesday evening, the defending Australian Open champion posted on Instagram that he was coming to Melbourne to take part within the tennis event with an “exemption permission”.

All Australian Open members should both be totally vaccinated or apply for and safe a medical exemption so as to enter Victoria with out endeavor the necessary 14-day quarantine.

Jamie Murray questions Novak Djokovic's Australian Open medical exemption – videoJamie Murray questions Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open medical exemption – video


Tennis Australia stated gamers looking for an exemption went via a two-stage course of, with their utility first thought of by a panel of consultants in Tennis Australia, after which an evaluation from the Victorian authorities.

The chief government of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley, stated the exemption granted to Djokovic was the identical medical exemption anybody can get beneath the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (Atagi) tips.

“If there are a number of the explanation why they’re unable to be vaccinated, Atagi have set out very clear tips which have to be adopted to ensure that you to be added to the Australian immunisation register and if you’re added to that register, you’re then exempt from a vaccination and might come into Australia,” he advised 9’s In the present day Present on Wednesday.

“For tennis gamers, it was a course of that was above and past what anybody coming to Australia would have skilled. Just because we had an additional panel … which via a blind assessment assessed any utility after which granted exemptions if it was applicable.”


Tiley stated it was up to Djokovic to resolve whether or not to disclose the rationale the exemption was granted. The Atagi tips state exemptions might be given for these with acute medical circumstances, together with present process main surgical procedure, those that have had Covid-19 prior to now six months or have had a critical opposed occasion attributed to a earlier Covid vaccine dose.

Tiley stated in a press convention on Wednesday he may perceive why folks could be upset concerning the determination.

“A few of you can be upset about the truth that Novak has are available in due to his statements of the previous couple of years round vaccination,” he stated. “Nonetheless, it’s in the end up to him to talk about with the general public his situation if you happen to select to do this, and the rationale why he acquired an exemption. We as an occasion, additionally as a state, as a rustic, will do every thing we probably can to give everybody an equal alternative to come into the nation.”

The state employment minister, Jaala Pulford, acknowledged Victorians would discover the choice irritating, however stated the panel course of to approve the exemption was “extremely strong” and Djokovic had not acquired particular remedy.


“I wished to recognise and acknowledge that this consequence is one thing that most of the Victorian neighborhood discover irritating and upsetting,” Pulford stated. “However I would like to make completely clear that as has been the case the entire time, nobody is receiving particular remedy due to who they’re or what they’ve achieved professionally.”

Each Tiley and Pulford referred to as on Djokovic to clarify his medical exemption when he arrives in Australia.

“I believe it’ll actually be useful if Novak was to clarify the situation for which he sought an exemption and he bought the exemption,” Tiley stated. “However in the end, it’s up to him.”

Public response to the information of Djokovic’s exemption was overwhelmingly hostile.

Stephen Parnis, a former vice-president of the Australian Medical Affiliation, stated the choice was appalling.

“I don’t care how good a tennis participant he’s. If he’s refusing to get vaccinated, he shouldn’t be allowed in,” Parnis tweeted. “If this exemption is true, it sends an appalling message to tens of millions looking for to cut back #COVID19Aus danger to themselves & others. #Vaccination exhibits respect, Novak.”

Whoever knocks Djokovic out of the #AusOpen might by no means want to purchase a beer In Australia ever once more.

— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshMedia) January 4, 2022

After every thing Victorians have been via, Novak Djokovic getting a vaccine exemption is nothing wanting a kick within the guts. All these lockdowns, all that struggling. Critically? #auspol

— Dr Kate Miller (@DrKate_Miller) January 4, 2022

Australian tennis gamers James Duckworth and Alex de Minaur expressed shock on the determination when requested on the ATP event in Sydney.

“Look, I don’t know the factors for exemptions. Yeah. Apparently it’s an unbiased panel. He should have match the factors in some way,” Duckworth stated.

“That’s very politically appropriate of you,” de Minaur replied. “I simply assume it’s very fascinating. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Tiley stated 26 folks related to the Australian Open utilized for a medical exemption to come to the event, however solely a handful have been granted.

The deputy Victorian Liberal chief, David Southwick, stated it was a “shame”.

“What a shame! We have now had 6 lockdowns – faculties and small companies closed, funerals and weddings advised not to go forward, households separated for months on finish and now a tennis star will get an exemption,” he tweeted.

“A kick within the guts to each Victorian.”

The choice additionally drew an offended response on social media, with many predicting a hostile welcome for the nine-time Australian Open champion when he takes the courtroom.

I reckon the group response to that is going to be very disagreeable certainly. And they’re going to have a heck of a time explaining the exemption grounds past him being Novak Djokovic.

— Neil McMahon (@NeilMcMahon) January 4, 2022

Novak Djokovic is about to discover out what it’s like to be despised by all of Australia. We’re all good and laid again till we’re not. #GetVaccinated

— Karen Sweeney (@karenlsweeney) January 4, 2022

I reckon the group response to that is going to be very disagreeable certainly. And they’re going to have a heck of a time explaining the exemption grounds past him being Novak Djokovic.

— Neil McMahon (@NeilMcMahon) January 4, 2022

Such a slap within the face to the Australian folks to permit #Djokovic a vaccine exemption after what so many individuals endured right here over the previous two years. Australians weren’t even allowed to come dwelling from abroad however apparently if you happen to’re wealthy and well-known, the principles don’t apply

— Tahlia Hope (@TajHope) January 4, 2022

Former AFL nice Kevin Bartlett stated on Twitter that the general public had been “taken for fools”.

Russian tennis star Natalia Vikhlyantseva introduced in December she would skip the Australian Open as a result of the Sputnik vaccine she has acquired shouldn’t be recognised in Australia.

Just last month, Victoria’s deputy premier, James Merlino, stated exemptions on medical grounds shouldn’t be considered as a “loophole for privileged tennis gamers” and everybody on the Open is predicted to be vaccinated.

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