Tennis: Djokovic slams critics after Australian Open win
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Australian Open fans are threatening to boycott the tournament after nine-time champion Novak Djokovic was granted a vaccine medical exemption to enter the country and compete. All players, staff and fans at the Grand Slam must be fully vaccinated, but a handful including the world No 1 have received exemptions to travel unvaccinated.
Djokovic announced on Tuesday that he would be competing at the Australian Open with “an exemption permission” following months of speculation surrounding his participation.
“Happy New Year, everybody! Wishing you all health, love, and happiness in every present moment and may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet,” the 34-year-old wrote on Instagram, alongside a photo of himself at the airport.
“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022 !!”
Tennis Australia later confirmed that Djokovic had been granted a medical exemption “following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts,” including the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health.
JUST IN: Australian Prime Minister’s threat to Novak Djokovic
Applications were assessed in line with the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines, but the reason for Djokovic’s medical exemption has not been revealed.
The decision sparked outrage among Australians, especially those residing in the state of Victoria who have spent the better part of two years in lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus.
Some have now taken to Twitter to admit they will be boycotting the season-opening Grand Slam and refusing to watch, demonstrating their disagreement with the decision to give Djokovic an exemption.
“So disappointed to hear of @AustralianOpen decision to let #Djokovic play. What message does that send? Money over Human Lives! Shame on @AustralianOpen – Will not be watching! #Boycott #AustralianOpen,” one said.
Leylah Fernandez sets ambitious 2022 goal after US Open heartbreak
Osaka lifts lid on break after admitting she ‘wasn’t going to play’
Emma Raducanu tipped to fall down the rankings in 2022 prediction
Another added: “To all you long suffering Melbournians, boycott the Australian Open. Send a clear message to those in power that double standards are unacceptable.”
One Australian explained why they would not be watching the first Major of 2022, saying: “I’m Australian living in Perth, where people from Melbourne are not allowed to enter this city because of government mandates, yet famous people seem to be allowed to flout the rules. Boycott the @AustralianOpen for this poor decision”.
Another local said they would also no longer be watching the Australian Open, despite initially being excited for the event following a “tough 2021” for Australian citizens.
“I was looking forward to the @AustralianOpen this year after a tough 2021. Tennis in January was always great – but if they’re going to boycott our health protocols to pander to a wealthy anti-vaxxer, I’m boycotting their tournament for free,” they tweeted.
In a statement released on Tuesday, shortly after Djokovic announced he had received an exemption, the Tennis Australia chief said the 20-time Major champion had not been given special treatment regarding his application.
““Fair and independent protocols were established for assessing medical exemption applications that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everyone,” said Craig Tiley, who is also the Aussie Open tournament director.
“Central to this process was that the decisions were made by independent medical experts and that every applicant was given due consideration.”
He then told Australia’s Channel Nine on Wednesday that 26 players had applied for a medical exemption but only a handful had been granted one, confirming that the application process was anonymous.
Source: Read Full Article