Novak Djokovic finally put an end to the speculations over his Australian Open title defence. The tennis star announced Tuesday that he would compete at the season’s opening Grand Slam event with a medical exemption. In the time of the pandemic, it pertains to getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
Earlier, Djokovic had declined to disclose his vaccination status due to Australia’s quarantine rules.
He was unsure whether he would compete at the January 17-30 tournament in Melbourne over Covid concerns.
Since the Organisers Tennis Australia (TA) had asked all to adhere to Covid-rules including vaccination for all participants at the Grand Slam. It had also given another option of having a ‘medical exemption’ granted by an independent panel of experts. The panel would consist of doctors from the fields of immunology, infectious disease and general practice and that the move was agreed in conjunction with the Victoria Department of Health.
The Serbian tennis star announced this big news on his Instagram. As per the TA, the 34-year-old Novak Djokovic had applied for a ‘medical exemption’ which was later granted to him. But it comes only after a rigorous review process that involved two separate independent panels of medical experts.
“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health,” as per the TA statement.
“They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines.”
Australia Open: Novak Djokovic gets medical exemption
The medical exemption to Novak Djokovic has led to an uproar from all sides. The Serbian star has won a record nine Australian Open titles, including the last three, and is also in a three-way tie on 20 majors with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the all-time list.
The decision comes as a highly controversial one in a country that is seeing many Covid cases; this also comes after enduring some of the world’s strictest restrictions.
There have been allegations against the government of allowing the rich and famous to do away with the Covid rules.
Moreover, the public reaction to the news of Novak Djokovic’s exemption has been overwhelmingly hostile.
The announcement also brings an angry reaction on social media.
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