Novak Djokovic: Australian Open vaccine exemption ignites backlash

By Muhammad JuniadPublished On 06 Jan 2022

Novak Djokovic has confirmed that he will contest this month’s Australian Open, revealing he has been granted “an exemption permission” to play.

Australians have reacted angrily to news that tennis player Novak Djokovic will play in the Australian Open after he was exempted from vaccination rules.

There had been serious doubts the world No. 1 would travel to Australia to play the 2022’s first grand slam as he had refused to reveal his vaccination status.

However, the Serbian took to social media to announce he is coming to Australia to defend his title. 

The tournament is slated to begin on 17 January in Melbourne.

The player turned to Instagram and said, "I've spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I'm heading down under with an exemption permission”.


A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)

All players and staff at the tournament must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel.

Organizers said the defending champion had not been given special treatment.

But Australians - some of whom still cannot travel interstate or globally - have criticized officials, politicians, and Djokovic himself.

Moreover, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said 26 athletes had applied for medical exemptions, and "a handful" had been granted, under guidelines set by federal regulators.