Novak Djokovic Confirms He’ll Defend His Three Straight Titles At Australian Open
Novak Djokovic announced Tuesday that he will compete at the Australian Open after receiving a medical exemption from getting vaccinated against COVID-19, ending speculation over his three-time title defense.
The world No. 1 previously said that he was unsure whether he would compete at the opening Grand Slam event—January 17-30 in Melbourne—due to concerns over the country’s quarantine rules.
“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022,” he said on Instagram.
Participants must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a medical exemption granted. They issued a statement later Tuesday to confirm Djokovic will be allowed to compete.
“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 Immunization guidelines.”
Tennis Australia said in December that the panel would consist of doctors from the fields of immunology, infectious disease and general practice.
Djokovic pulled out of the Serbia team for the ATP Cup in Sydney to raise further doubts over his participation in Open.
“I’m ready to live and breathe tennis in the next few weeks of competition. Thanks everyone for the support,” Djokovic added in his post.