Australian Open boss insists ‘there’s no loophole’ and Novak Djokovic and co must be fully vaccinated

Novak Djokovic looking ahead

All players – including Novak Djokovic – must be fully vaccinated to compete at the 2022 Australian Open with tournament director Craig Tiley confirming that no player has received any medical exception to by-pass the policy.

After weeks of speculation about whether or not he will compete at the hard-court Grand Slam after refusing to reveal his vaccination status, Djokovic was included on the official entry list on Wednesday.

It led to speculation that the world No 1 could use a loophole to gain entry as players can apply for medical exemptions, but Tennis Australia CEO and Australian Open chief Tiley is adamant you have to be fully inoculated.

“To be clear up front, no one can play the Australian Open unless they are vaccinated, on either a double dose of all the required vaccines or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson, which also is an approved vaccine,” he told ABC.

“The only condition at which, outside of being vaccinated, that you could compete is if you receive a medically approved exemption from Australian authorities, specifically against the very specific ATAGI guidelines.

“It’s very clear – there’s no loophole – and there’s no condition of which you can play the Australian Open unless you meet that criteria.

“What was published yesterday was a general entry list and, as a matter of course, everyone goes on the entry list.

“It’s not a commitment list about exactly who’s in the draw. That comes in several weeks’ time when the actual list and draw gets finalised for the Australian Open.”

Although players do have an option of applying for a medical exemption should they need one, Tiley insisted that no one has been granted one, yet anyway.

“It’s very specific as to what is eligible or not, and then that goes through to that expert panel and they’ll make a call, so at this point it’s in the process of being established,” he said.

“I’ve seen reports this morning. There’s been no medical exemptions that have been granted at this point.”