The Star Democrat

Djokovic gets medical exemption for Australian Open

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BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic will get a chance to defend his Australian Open title after receiving a medical exemption to travel to Melbourne, ending months of uncertaint­y about his participat­ion because of the strict COVID-19 vaccinatio­n requiremen­ts in place for the tournament.

The top-ranked Djokovic wrote on Instagram on Tuesday he has “an exemption permission.”

Djokovic, who is seeking a record 21st Grand Slam singles title, has continuall­y refused to reveal if he is vaccinated against the coronaviru­s. The Victoria state government has mandated that all players, staff and fans attending the Australian Open must be fully vaccinated unless there is a genuine reason why an exemption should be granted.

Australian Open organizers quickly responded with a statement confirming Djokovic will be allowed to compete at the tournament, which starts on Jan. 17, and was on his way to Australia. He earlier withdrew from Serbia’s team for the ATP Cup, which started last weekend in Sydney.

“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.”

Tennis Australia said the process included the redaction of personal informatio­n to ensure privacy for all applicants. That means Djokovic was not obliged to make his exemption public.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said “fair and independen­t protocols were establishe­d for assessing medical exemption applicatio­ns that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everyone.”

 ?? AP PHOTO ?? Top-ranked Novak Djokovic said Tuesday he has received a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open.
AP PHOTO Top-ranked Novak Djokovic said Tuesday he has received a medical exemption to play in the Australian Open.

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