Tennis Update: Unvaccinated Players Not Allowed in Australian Open
Posted by: Hilbert Mayer
The 2022 edition of the Australian Open might be deprived of their biggest stars. This is due to a mandate by the host state to disallow unvaccinated players from competing in the Grand Slam tournament. Stars like world number one Novak Djokovic and former US Open champion Dominic Thiem have not received vaccination. It is because of presstime and continued to defy the order. The top official of the host state, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews insisted that there will be no exemptions.
This contradicts the statement of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He says that unvaccinated players may enter the country. This is if they receive an exemption that the host state would need to apply for on behalf of the players. Before the officials’ statements, there was a leaked email saying that tennis players will be allowed as long as they take a 14-day quarantine. The decision over the matter is still under wraps and everyone is hoping that it would benefit the online betting sites covering the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year.
Unvaccinated Djokovic, Thiem Might Lose Spots in the Australian Open
The declaration from the Victoria premier may affect big-time tennis stars. This is especially for those who have not received inoculation for COVID-19. Two of these tennis players are nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic and the Austrian Thiem. Djokovic has yet to declare his vaccination status. World number nine Thiem stated that he is still waiting for a vaccine from American pharmaceutical company Novavax that uses an “inactivated” protein-based formula. However, the Austrian also stated that he can also use other approved vaccines if he had no other choice.
An Austrian health official went to the media to urge Thiem to receive vaccination. He says that the inactivated vaccines may not be available until next year. He also points out that these vaccines have not indicated any advantages to other jabs available in the market. The official also warns about the risk of “long COVID” to athletes, saying that they might lose concentration or suffer from fatigue, body pain, and other respiratory issues. On the other hand, the Serbian Djokovic keeps it a secret with regard to his vaccination status but previously said that the decision to get the vaccine should be a personal choice.
Morrison, Andrews Contradict Each Other
Before 2022 kicks off, they need to solve another problem. It is the contradicting statements between Victoria state Premier Daniel Andrews and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Andrews previously ruled out the entry of unvaccinated superstars. He says that they will still implement its mandatory vaccination policy for athletes competing in tournaments hosted by the state.
On the other hand, Morrison said that there needed to be some flexibility. This applies to the strict rules for major events to go ahead in Australia. Australia’s federal government controls the country’s border and issues visas. But during the pandemic, states have managed quarantine facilities and imposed vaccine protocol. The issue makes it uncertain as to whether which leadership will get the final say on the Australian Open rules. They will allow fully-vaccinated tennis players to travel to Australia from December 1. And after testing negative to the coronavirus, they will not have to quarantine ahead of the January 17-30 event.
Tennis Stars Wait and See
The contrasting statements have caused players to wait and see. Unless there is a final decree within a month or two, the state rules will remain. This will disallow stars like Djokovic and Thiem to compete. Unless Djokovic and Thiem reveal they are vaccinated or the state reverses its initial declaration, the Australian Open will have a new champion in the men’s singles for its 2022 edition and will certainly make betting on tennis interesting because it will be anybody’s ballgame from day one until the final.