Novak Djokovic statement made by ATP over Australian Open chaos with Serb in the minority

Novak Djokovic: Nigel Farage praises court ruling

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The ATP released a statement declaring Novak Djokovic’s visa application has been ‘damaging’ to tennis – and suggested the world number one is in the minority when it comes to the Covid vaccine. The body also called on Australia to clarify their entry rules and urged players to get vaccinated.

The world number one sensationally won an appeal on Monday against the Australian government after they cancelled his visa last Thursday. 

Djokovic argued he had a vaccination exemption allowing him to play in the Australian Open, but his exemption was only signed off on by Tennis Australia and the Victorian government rather than the federal government.

He arrived in the country to compete in the opening Grand Slam of the season only for border guards to reject his documents and place him in detention. 

Officials ruled Djokovic did not meet the exemption criteria whereby all non-Australians had to be fully vaccinated against Covid. 

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Following the Serb’s successful appeal on Monday, the Australian government agreed to revoke their decision to cancel his visa. 

However immigration minister Alex Hawke can personally intervene and decide to cancel his visa anyway – which would see Djokovic banned from Australia for three years.

“Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have… highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules,” said the ATP in a statement.

“In travelling to Melbourne, it’s clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations.

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“The series of events leading to Monday’s court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open.”

Djokovic has not spoken publicly about his vaccination status, although he confirmed in his interview with border officials that he is yet to receive the jab.

The 34-year-old insisted he had tested positive for Covid twice: in June 2020 and on 16 December 2021. 

Copies of his positive PCR tests were provided to the interviewer, and one was issued on the 16 December 2021 – just one day before Djokovic was seen at at public events without a mask.

The ATP announced that 97% pf the top 100 players are vaccinated, placing Djokovic firmly in the minority.

“More broadly, ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP Tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic,” the ATP continued.

“This is based on scientific evidence supporting the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations, which we anticipate will become stricter over time.

“We are encouraged that 97% of the top 100 players are vaccinated leading into this year’s Australian Open.”

Djokovic is eyeing a record 10th Australian Open title, while he could move clear of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on 20 Grand Slam wins – the most men’s major singles title in history.

Australian Open qualifying began on January 10, with the full tournament kicking off a week later and concluding on January 30.

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