The organizers of the Australian Open are still unsure whether the men’s champion defending champion Novak Djokovic will play in next month’s Grand Slam.
Djokovic, a 34-year-old Serb, did not speak publicly about his vaccinated condition.
At the Australian Open, all players and staff must be vaccinated or medically exempt from an independent panel of experts.
“If Novak shows up, he’s vaccinated or gets a medical discharge,” said Craig Tiley, director of the race.
However, Tiley is confident that Spain’s Rafael Nadal will be there despite a positive Covid-19 test this week.
The Australian Open kicks off on January 17 in Melbourne, with players starting to arrive in the country next week for warm-up events.
Djokovic, who would be preparing for the record-breaking 21st men’s Grand Slam championship title and the 10th Australian Open title, is at the bottom of the entry list.
He is also in the field in Serbia in the ATP Cup starting in Sydney on January 1st.
Tiley said a “small percentage” of unvaccinated players and staff would receive medical relief. He said he did not know that any player had informed the organizers that they had been granted an exemption.
Tennis Australia has announced that applications for exemption will initially be reviewed by an independent panel of immunology, infectious diseases and GPs.
Applications that meet the national guidelines set by the Australian Immunization Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) will be subject to a second review by the government-appointed body of medical experts, the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel.
“We want the best players here, I’d be happy if Novak were here. If they meet those conditions, it’s great, if not, it’s a disappointment,” added the CEO of Tennis Australia.
“He’s not talking to anyone about this medically. I’m not going to ask Novak about this, it’s none of my business.
“[If you are here] I will know that you meet one of the conditions.”
Nadal, who are tied to Djokovic and Roger Federer of Switzerland for 20 headlines, became positive for Covid-19 after returning to Spain from the Mubadala World Championships in Abu Dhabi.
Nadal was the fourth player to have a positive test after traveling to the event.
British Open Open champion Emma Raducanu stepped back before the tournament began, while both Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Ons Jabeur of Tunisia have tested positive in recent days.
“I trust Rafa will be here,” Tiley said.
“Players who are now positive for the test will have to spend a certain period of time until they are no longer contagious and they will be fine. If the test is positive and you want to play in the Australian Open, now is the time.”
Based on the players ’information, the WTA said 85 of the world’s top 100 women have been vaccinated and ATP is approaching 90 for men.