According to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Karen Andrews, Australian Minister for Home Affairs, is not in favor of Novak Djokovic's participation in the Australian Open 2022. In fact she said: "While the Victorian government and Tennis Australia can allow an unvaccinated player to compete in the Australian Open, it is the Commonwealth government that will enforce our requirements at the Australian border.
Unvaccinated arriving persons must provide acceptable proof of their medical grounds for exemption in order to enter Australia, otherwise they will be rejected or they will be forced to serve a 14-day quarantine. No individual participating in the Australian Open will receive special treatment."
Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, added: "Anyone trying to enter Australia must comply with our border requirements. Now Novak Djokovic, when he arrives in Australia, must provide acceptable proof that he cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons.
. We await his presentation and what evidence he provides us. If this evidence is insufficient, he will be treated no differently than anyone else and will be on the next plane to go home." Tennis Australia and the Government of the State of Victoria justified the process applied to evaluate the requests for medical exemption made by players and staff, whose names were unknown at the time of the examination: "We had great faith in the whole protocol, we spent a lot of time making sure it was fair and rigorous with experts from all fields.
The medical panel did not know who it was evaluating when the cases were presented, hiding the country of origin and date of birth when it was possible," explained medical director Carolyn Broderick. The CEO of the Australian Open spoke again and stated clearly and frankly, responding in a way to the allegations: "There was no favorable treatment for Novak Djokovic, some exemptions were rejected and we were very strict when it was about letting an unvaccinated person into the country.
We are aware that people may feel angry with Nole's position on Covid vaccination, but it is her responsibility to explain everything and give the reasons why he received the exemption," he added and she concluded.
Novak Djokovic: hated by social media, loved by NoVax
This is the sports news of the day, the first big bomb of 2022: Novak Djokovic will play the Australian Open despite not being vaccinated. He can do this thanks to a medical exemption that has been granted to him, causing a huge media fuss.
Almost certainly neither Djokovic nor his staff members will comment on the news and the Australian government will probably do the same - or rather, it will not. It is certain that the Djokovic case does not fall within one of the four reasons for granting medical exemption.
These are: an acute medical condition that led to hospitalization or major surgery; a recent swab positivity that would lead to a six-month postponement of the vaccine; a serious side effect resulting from the administration of the first dose; mental health conditions that could make the vaccine a risk.
In short: none of this. According to the latest news, the Serbian champion would not be the only player who benefited from medical exemption to be able to play the first Grand Slam of the year. This was stated by Craig Tiley, the director of the tournament, but clearly without giving other names.
It is also clear that the measure adopted is an ad personam matter to allow the nine-time champion to enrich the tournament with his presence. Right? Surely not! Djokovic, who by winning the tournament would overtake Federer and Nadal, becoming the absolute record holder as Slam titles, has certainly not rounded up new fans, quite the contrary.
Public opinion has also sided heavily against him, identifying him, wrongly for the writer, as an enemy to fight. It is not Djokovic who made a mistake in hindsight, but who granted medical exemption. The number one in the world, since he declared his firm position on the vaccine issue, has never backed down, but he cannot be blamed for this.
Serious, indeed very serious, those who, by granting the exemption, have created a dangerous precedent, especially in a country like Australia that has fought with strict restrictions, still in force, against the Coronavirus.
In these hours, haters, criticisms and trials are proliferating on social media, mainly directed at Djokovic himself and, on the other side of the fence, the NoVax world has elected the Serbian as a total idol. The most cutting and incisive tweet is probably the one signed by the journalist Biasin: "This celebration of Djokovic by the noVax universe is curious: he is allowed what they are not allowed.
And they celebrate it. Extraordinary." In Italy, Enrico Mentana was also exposed, asking the world of sport to block Djokovic’s registration in the Australian Open on Facebook. Paolo Condò, on the other hand, referring to Djokovic tweets: "In place of the opponents I would refuse to face him.
As a matter of principle." This is not the right place to convict or not those who decide not to get vaccinated, here we must talk about tennis and it is clear that anyone would like to be able to enjoy Djokovic's presence in 'his' Slam, but it is also sunny that respect and respect equality of rules are worth more than one sample. Or maybe not?