Australian Open to require players to be vaccinated against COVID

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The Australian Open in January will require tennis players to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, said tournament director Craig Tilly confirmed in an interview, New York Times report,

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big picture: The Times writes that months culminate in “mixed messages from Australian government officials” over whether or not to implement the vaccine mandate.

  • The announcement also comes at a time when No. 1 ranked male tennis player Novak Djokovic has refused to disclose whether he has been vaccinated. The nine-time Australian Open champion had said he would await tournament policy before making a decision on whether to participate. Now,
  • Tilly said that about 80% of the players had been vaccinated and would play in front of a capacity crowd. Reuters,

Flashback: Melbourne, where the tournament takes place, is considered the “world’s most closed city” with some of the world’s strictest COVID-19 measures.

  • Fans were initially allowed to participate in the tournament earlier this year, before 600 players and staff were forced to isolate and the tournament banned fans.
  • the spectators were allowed back in After five days of lockdown.

of note: The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam tournament to introduce a COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

What are they saying: “All staff working at the Australian Open will need to be vaccinated, but when we’re in a state where more than 90 percent of the population is fully vaccinated – they did a fantastic job with that – it’s the right thing to do, Tilly said, per NYT.

  • “(Novak) has said that he sees this as a private matter for him,” Tilly said, per Reuters. “We would love to see Novak here, he knows he has to be vaccinated to play here.”
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