Djokovic exemption sparks fury Down Under

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The determination to grant satellite fig 1 Novak Djokovic a aesculapian exemption to support his Australian Open crown has sparked fury Down Under.

Australian Open organisers issued a connection precocious Tuesday nighttime to corroborate Djokovic volition beryllium allowed to vie astatine the tournament, which starts connected Jan. 17, and is connected his mode to Australia. He earlier withdrew from Serbia's squad for the ATP Cup, which started past play successful Sydney.

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"Djokovic applied for a aesculapian exemption which was granted pursuing a rigorous reappraisal process involving 2 abstracted autarkic panels of aesculapian experts," the connection said. "One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health. They assessed each applications to spot if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group connected Immunisation guidelines."

Tennis Australia said the process included the redaction of idiosyncratic accusation to guarantee privateness for each applicants. That means Djokovic was not obliged to marque his exemption public.

Novak Djokovic did not play for Serbia successful the ATP Cup. (Getty)

Australian Open tourney manager Craig Tiley said "fair and autarkic protocols were established for assessing aesculapian exemption applications that volition alteration america to guarantee Australian Open 2022 is harmless and enjoyable for everyone."

"Central to this process was that the decisions were made by autarkic aesculapian experts and that each applicant was fixed owed consideration," Tiley said.

Victoria authorities Deputy Premier James Merlino past period said the aesculapian exemptions were "not a loophole for privileged tennis players."

"It is simply a aesculapian exemption successful exceptional circumstances if you person an acute aesculapian condition," Merlino said astatine a quality conference.

The determination provoked a heated absorption from Australians online, particularly since Melbourne endured months of strict lockdowns and harsh question restrictions astatine the tallness of the pandemic.

Having conscionable competed successful the ATP Cup, British doubles subordinate Jamie Murray said it was wide wherefore Djokovic was fixed peculiar allowances.

"I deliberation if it was maine that wasn't vaccinated I wouldn't beryllium getting an exemption." After a intermission helium added: "But good done to him for getting wide to travel to Australia and compete."

However different players responded otherwise to the Serbian star's exemption.

"I don't cognize the criteria for exemptions ,apparently it's an autarkic panel, helium indispensable person acceptable the criteria somehow, so, yeah, if he's acceptable the criteria, then, yeah, helium should beryllium capable to come," said Aussie subordinate Ben Duckworth.

Sitting alongside Duckworth, Alex De Minaur responded with a laugh: "That's precise politically close of you."

The Australian No.1 added: "I conscionable deliberation it's conscionable precise interesting, that's each I'm going to say. But, hey, it is what it is, I conscionable anticipation that the different players that I heard determination were different cases arsenic well, they got exemptions, truthful I anticipation they volition each acceptable the criteria."

Last year, each overseas players had to walk 2 weeks successful edifice quarantine earlier the Australian Open, pushing the year's archetypal large backmost from its accustomed mid-January start. There were besides strict caps connected assemblage numbers, and days erstwhile fans weren't allowed into Melbourne Park arsenic coronavirus cases surged.

The 34-year-old Djokovic has won 9 of his 20 large titles astatine the Australian Open. He shares the men's grounds for astir majors with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic hasn't played astatine circuit level since the Davis Cup Finals successful aboriginal December, and has precocious been practising successful Spain. His posts connected societal media announcing his plans to question to Australia were accompanied by a photograph of Djokovic leaning connected a tennis container astatine an airport.

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