All players playing the Australian Open, scheduled for January in Melbourne, will need to be vaccinated against Covid-19, tournament manager Craig Tiley confirmed on Saturday, November 20, increasing the pressure on world number one, the Serbian Novak Djokovic, nine times titled in Melbourne and who refuses to say if he is vaccinated or not.
The Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, will be held January 17-30 in Melbourne. Australia’s second-largest city has barely emerged from more than two hundred and sixty days of cumulative confinement, making it one of the longest-placed cities in the world.
Last month, the state of Victoria, whose capital is Melbourne, had already ruled out granting a special exemption to unvaccinated players so that they could participate in the tournament.
“There is a lot of speculation about vaccination and to be absolutely clear, when the Prime Minister [de l’Etat de Victoria] announced that everyone on the site should be vaccinated, we let the players know ”Craig Tiley told Channel Nine. “All the players understand it, our sponsors will have to be vaccinated, all the staff working on the Australian Open will have to be vaccinated”, he insisted.
“We would like to see Novak here”
Novak Djokovic, who could aim for a historic Melbourne 21e Grand Slam title, “Said he considered it a private matter, continued Craig Tiley. We would like to see Novak here. He knows he will have to be vaccinated to play here ”.
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. The spectator gauge had been set at 30,000 per day, or 50% of the capacity, and during the tournament, a five-day confinement was decreed in the state of Victoria.
Organizers have announced that this time the stands can be full, with the vaccination rate in the state of Victoria approaching 90%.
Apart from Djokovic, Craig Tiley has confirmed the participation of Rafael Nadal, also in search of a 21e coronation in Grand Slam. On the women’s side, world number one Ashleigh Barty will try to win at home, against defending champion Naomi Osaka who has confirmed her presence, as will Serena Williams who is aiming for a 24e Grand Slam.