'Shame!! shame, shame': Australia reacts to Novak Djokovic's Australian Open vaccine exemption

WION Web Team
Melbourne, Australia Published: Jan 05, 2022, 09:43 AM(IST)

According to the Organisers, the defending champion was not given special treatment. Craig Tiley, head of the Australian Open, says Novak Djokovic received no special favours in getting a Covid vaccine exemption to play. Photograph:( WION Web Team )

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The move sparked a furious backlash, despite the organiser's statements, Australians - some of whom are still unable to travel interstate or internationally - have criticised officials, politicians, and Djokovic himself

Tennis player Novak Djokovic was exempt from vaccination rules for the Australian Open, prompting an angry response from Australians.

Participants in the tournament, which starts on January 17, must either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a medical exemption, which is granted only after a medical evaluation by two independent expert panels.

Also read | Novak Djokovic to defend Australian Open title after getting exemption for COVID-19 vaccination

According to the Organisers, the defending champion was not given special treatment. Craig Tiley, head of the Australian Open, says Novak Djokovic received "no special" favours in getting a Covid vaccine exemption to play. 

The move sparked a furious backlash, despite the organiser's statements, Australians - some of whom are still unable to travel interstate or internationally - have criticised officials, politicians, and Djokovic himself.

Stephen Parnis, a former vice-president of the Australian Medical Association, said it sent an appalling message to those fighting COVID-19's spread.

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Djokovic, the nine-time Australian Open champion, announced late Tuesday he was on his way to Melbourne with "exemption permission", ending the lengthy saga over whether he would defend his title. On Twitter netizens reacted strongly to the exemption:

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Others, however, were more sympathetic 

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The Serb has repeatedly refused to confirm if he has been inoculated and previously expressed opposition to the coronavirus vaccine.

Defending the integrity of the process that reviewed Djokovic's exemption application, Tiley said that it had been overseen by the national and Victorian governments.

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He revealed that there were 26 players or their support staff from the 3,000 or so going to Australia who requested an exemption, and only a few of them were granted one.

"Any person who met those conditions has been allowed to come in. There's been no special favour. There's been no special opportunity granted to Novak," Said Tiley while speaking to Channel Nine television.

(With inputs from agencies)

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