Novak Djokovic gets vaccination exemption for Australian Open

Novak Djokovic will play in the Australian Open after receiving a medical exemption that doesn’t require him to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has declined to reveal his status but has spoken out against mandatory vaccinations. The Serbian star revealed on social media Tuesday that he was set to depart for Australia, his post accompanied by a photo taken at an airport.

“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission,” he wrote. “Let’s go 2022 !!”

Djokovic, 34, is ranked No. 1 in the world and has won nine Australian Open titles. He is the defending champion at the tournament, which begins Jan. 17.

Tournament organizers previously said all players had to be vaccinated or apply for, and have granted, a medical exemption in order to play. The tournament issued a statement Tuesday confirming the exemption.

“Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts,” the statement said.

“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health. They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation guidelines.”

Novak Djokovic
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Seeking History

Djokovic isn’t competing for Team Serbia in the ATP Cup in Sydney, which had fueled speculation he wouldn’t play in the Australian Open.

A Djokovic win in the Australian Open would break a three-way tie with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles by a man. Federer remains sidelined by a knee injury, but Nadal is entered in the tournament.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)