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showdown around vaccination against Covid-19

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With less than three months of the Australian Open, the question of vaccination agitates the world of tennis. Local authorities exclude any participation of unvaccinated players, which could exclude the first major of the season, defending champion and world No. 1, Novak Djokovic.

Particularly resistant to vaccination, the world of tennis closely follows the soap opera around the Australian Open. The state of Victoria, whose capital Melbourne will host the Australian Major in January 2022, ruled out Wednesday (October 27) from granting a special exemption to unvaccinated players so that they can participate in the tournament, which could exclude the competition from the defending champion and world No. 1, Novak Djokovic.

“We exclude unvaccinated people from pubs, cafes, restaurants and the MCG (Melbourne’s main cricket stadium) and all kinds of other events,” said the Prime Minister of the State of Victoria , Daniel Andrews. “We will not ask for an exemption. Therefore, the issue is fundamentally resolved.”

Vaccination compulsory unless there is a local exemption

This reminder from local authorities is the new episode of the soap opera that shakes up world tennis, less than two months before the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year (from January 17 to 30).

An email from the WTA, organizer of the women’s professional tour, which leaked earlier this week, suggested that players who had not been vaccinated against Covid-19 could participate in the tournament provided they respect a quarantine of 14 days .

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison then said unvaccinated players would be allowed to enter the country if they were given an exemption, which the host state, Victoria, was to apply for on their behalf. But the state of Victoria has therefore ruled out this possibility.

It is, in effect, the Australian federal government that controls the country’s borders and issues entry visas, but during the pandemic, state governments decided on their own entry conditions (quarantine, compulsory vaccination).

Djokovic, leader of the sling

Djokovic, winner of the last three editions of the Australian Open and crowned a total of nine times in Melbourne, has in the past publicly taken a stand against vaccines and still refused to say whether he himself had been vaccinated against the vaccine. Covid-19.

On October 19, he hinted that he might skip the Australian tournament: “I don’t know if I’m going to go to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. The situation is not right now. good, “said” Djoko “in the Serbian press.

According to the ATP, in charge of the men’s professional circuit, and the WTA, contacted by AFP, approximately 65% ​​of players and more than 60% of female players are vaccinated.

For the 2021 edition of the Australian Open, scheduled for February instead of January, the players and their coaches had to observe a quarantine of two weeks in hotels, before being able to circulate freely. The spectator gauge had been set at 30,000 per day, or 50% of the capacity. During the tournament, a five-day lockdown was declared in the state of Victoria.

With AFP

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