Tue. May 24th, 2022

Djokovic has been approved by Tennis Australia and the state of Victoria for a medical exemption from the country’s strict COVID vaccination rules.

Australian Open organizers “regret” the effect of the Novak Djokovic deportation sage at the tennis tournament, adding that there were “lessons to be learned”.

The Serbian defending champion and world’s leading male player flew out of Melbourne on Sunday after lose a court order to stay and play in the opening Grand Slam of the year, where he aimed for a record 21st major title.

Djokovic has been approved by Tennis Australia and the state of Victoria for a medical exemption to the country’s strict COVID vaccination rules based on the fact that he tested positive for the coronavirus last month.

The release was contested in a legal battle that led to his deportation, after three judges in the Federal Court rejected a bid to have the visa revoked.

In its first comment on the matter, Tennis Australia said in a statement on Tuesday that it respects the court decision and hopes the focus can now shift to action on the tennis court.

“As the Australian tennis family, we recognize that recent events have been a significant distraction for all and we deeply regret the impact it has had on all players,” it said, without naming Djokovic.

Before leaving, Djokovic said he was “extremely disappointed” by the Australian court’s ruling, but said he respected the decision.

“I can not stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open,” he said in a statement.

“I’m uncomfortable that the focus of recent weeks has been on me and I hope we can all now focus on the game and tournament I like,” he added.


His dramatic departure after an 11-day saga involving two court hearings cast a dark shadow over the tournament.

“There are always lessons to be learned and we will review all aspects of our preparation and implementation to inform our planning – as we do every year,” said Tennis Australia.

The country’s tennis governing body backed its confrontational chief executive, Craig Tiley, whose role in giving Djokovic the green light to come to Australia called for him to be sacked.

Djokovic, who is now back in Serbia, faces an uncertain professional future as more governments require evidence of vaccination to enter public places, including sports arenas.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday that Djokovic would have to comply with the country’s health rules in order to compete.

“Any athlete who wants to participate in our country must comply with the health rules of Spain,” Sanchez said.

Djokovic regularly travels to Spain, where he owns a house in the southern resort of Marbella.

France’s parliament also on Sunday introduced a vaccine pass requirement to gain access to public places, including sports arenas.


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