ATP welcomes Djokovic hearing outcome but repeats calls for player vaccinations

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

The ATP has welcomed the outcome of the hearing that will allow Novak Djokovic to play at the Australian Open but reiterated that it continues to encourage its players to get vaccinated against coronavirus.

After days of uncertainty regarding the world number one's participation in Melbourne, it was ruled on Monday he should be immediately released from detention.

That came after authorities cancelled his visa last week, despite the Serbian receiving a medical exemption that allowed him to enter the country, regardless of his vaccination status. Given his application for the exemption, it is assumed Djokovic is unvaccinated.

The Australian Border Force declared Djokovic must fly out of the country on Thursday, sparking the challenge that went in the tennis star's favour on Monday.

However, Australia's immigration minister Alex Hawke could still cancel Djokovic's visa on new grounds, meaning his participation at the year's first grand slam is not yet 100 per cent known.

With the saga seemingly drawing to a close, the ATP published a response to Monday's events.

Its statement read: "The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of COVID-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place. Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have however highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules.

"In travelling to Melbourne, it's clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations.

"The series of events leading to Monday's court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak's well-being and preparation for the Australian Open. Player medical exemption requests are made independently of the ATP, however, we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia to seek clarity throughout this process. We welcome the outcome of Monday's hearing and look forward to an exciting few weeks of tennis ahead.

"More broadly, the ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP Tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic. This is based on scientific evidence supporting the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations, which we anticipate will become stricter over time. We are encouraged that 97 per cent of the Top 100 players are vaccinated leading into this year's Australian Open."

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