Australia will probably require all athletes who want to play the Australian Open 2022 to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This was concluded based on Tuesday’s statement of Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, while Tennis Australia declined to comment.
“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country and if they did get a visa they’d probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks,” warned the leader of the Australian state in which the Grand Slam is held.
The biggest controversy regarding this issue is whether nine-time champion Novak Djokovic will be defending his title at the Australian Open 2022. The ATP player’s vaccination status is still unclear, although we can assume that he hasn’t been vaccinated.
“[The virus] doesn’t care what your tennis ranking is, or how many Grand Slams you’ve won,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews, emphasizing that only vaccination can help keep yourself and others around you safe.
When it comes to women’s tennis, the WTA’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is 60 percent, 5 percent lower than the ATP’s. Additionally, the WTA’s goal is to have a vaccination level of 85 percent by the end of the year, although they don’t require players to get vaccinated as they respect their personal decisions.
Top WTA players who have been vaccinated include Ashleigh Barty, Sofia Kenin, Petra Kvitova, reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, Victoria Azarenka, and Donna Vekic.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Australia’s borders have been closed to non-residents, although we were lucky to have the 2021 Australian Open as tennis players and staff at the major had the privilege of being treated as exceptions. From November 1, Australia will relax border controls for citizens and permanent residents, but no decision has yet been made on international tourists and other visa holders.
The Australian Open 2022 is scheduled to start on January 17 in Melbourne, Victoria.
The view on the ground is that Djokovic is welcome to stay home.
A lot will depend on the vaccination level. It would not be cool to have the Australian Open with almost half players missing. I hope that will not happen.
I have no sympathy with these ignorant, spoiled athletes who don’t believe in science and refuse to be vaccinated to think that in the Global South where I came from, vaccine inequity is real and we just wait for vaccines being donated through the COVAX Facility. Kudos to the Australian government for not playing around. We are still in the middle of the pandemic and everyone including tennis players, have to be responsible and think of the repercussions of being non-vaccinated. This is about public health and protecting one another, so Novak (who I used to root for) and other tennis players who refuse to be vaccinated despite being constantly exposed from traveling, can just stay in their own privileged bubble and sit out this year’s Australian Open.
Further to my previous comment, a sports commentator here wrote a newspaper article criticising Djokovic and in the comments there was 100% agreement that the commentator was right. No-one likes someone who thinks they are above the rules just because they are a star, and doesn’t show any concern for humanity as a whole.