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no vaccine proof, no gambling

The ball is back in Novak Djokovic’s court.

Australian Open chief Craig Tiley confirmed on Saturday that everyone who attends the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of 2022 will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including all players.

This continues to question the status of defending champion and nine-time champion Djokovic. Djokovic, who declined to say if he’s vaccinated, is reportedly looking to win a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam singles title.

The tournament is scheduled for January 17-30. The state government of Victoria had previously said that only those vaccinated would be allowed at the venue for the tournament, and Tiley reiterated it on Saturday.

“Everyone there, the fans, all the staff, the players, will need to be vaccinated,” Tiley said at the official launch of the tournament. “There has been a lot of speculation about Novak’s position, he said it was a private matter.

“We would love to see 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 him in the spotlight. “

The no-vaccination and no-gambling edict was issued by the Victoria state government at the end of October. This means the Australian Open will become the first Grand Slam tournament to require mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for players.

Victoria was the hardest-hit state in Australia, with 1,268 pandemic deaths out of a total of 1,922 for the country and 109,000 out of 194,000 total cases on Saturday. Melbourne and many other parts of Victoria have been subject to long lockdowns and nighttime curfews over the past 18 months.

“This was made very clear when the Prime Minister (Daniel Andrews) announced several weeks ago that to compete in the Australian Open, to enter Victoria, you will need to be fully vaccinated,” Tiley said earlier to morning television. program. “Immediately we informed the group of players that this is the only direction you are taking that will ensure everyone’s safety. “

Among the top male players, Tiley, who is the tournament director, said Rafael Nadal and Daniil Medvedev, who beat Djokovic in the US Open final, preventing the Serbian player from completing a one-calendar year Grand Slam, plan to be in Melbourne. in January.

Roger Federer, who continues to recover from right knee surgery, has already announced that he will not be coming. He, Nadal and Djokovic are all tied with 20 major singles tournaments each.

Top-ranked Australian Ash Barty will once again try to win her major at home, and defending champion Naomi Osaka has also confirmed she will play, Tiley said.

He said he had been “on the phone” with Serena Williams for the past few days and that Williams, who has 23 Grand Slam singles titles and needs one more to match Margaret’s all-time record. Run, train and plan to play.

Tiley, who said he had also been in contact with Djokovic and his team, said it would be clear by mid-December that will come. He said international players are currently going through the travel visa process with the Australian government and entry for the Australian Open ends in December.

“I know he wants to play, he’s made it clear and he knows the conditions he would have to go through to be eligible to play,” Tiley said of Djokovic.

“Entry here will be determined between early and mid-December at the registration deadline, so you’ll know when a player has entered an event. . . so in the next few weeks you will have a very good indication of where everyone is at, because at that point there is an official list of who is going to be here.

Tiley said there will be a crowd for the tournament, which means the Rod Laver Arena will regain its capacity of around 15,000, just like the other main arenas.

The schedule for the second week has changed for the January tournament, with the two women’s singles semi-finals being played Thursday night before Saturday night’s final.

The men’s singles semi-finals will be split between the afternoon and evening sessions on Friday, with the final on Sunday evening, January 30.

Additionally, Victoria State Sports Minister Martin Pakula has announced that Melbourne Park will host the Australian Open until 2044 as part of a new deal being negotiated with Tennis Australia. There has been speculation for several years that Sydney and the state of New South Wales wanted to poach the tournament from Melbourne, but Saturday’s announcement appears to have ended all speculation about a move to the northeast of the largest city in Australia.


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