Novak Djokovic to defend Australian Open title after receiving medical exemption from having Covid-19 vaccination
World number one Novak Djokovic says he will defend his Australian Open title later this month after receiving a medical exemption from having a Covid-19 vaccination.
All players and staff at the tournament must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an expert independent panel.
Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open winner, has not spoken publicly about his vaccination status.
The tournament begins in Melbourne on 17 January.
“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading down under with an exemption permission,” the 34-year-old said on Instagram on Tuesday. “Let’s go 2022.
“I am ready to live and breathe tennis in the next few weeks of competition.”
Earlier this week, Australian Open chief Craig Tiley said that some unvaccinated players had been granted exemptions to play in the year’s first Grand Slam.
Djokovic had pulled out of the Serbia team for the ATP Cup in Sydney, which had raised doubts over his participation at Melbourne Park.
He has won the past three Australian Opens and is in a three-way tie on 20 majors with Roger Federer, who misses the tournament through injury, and Rafa Nadal in the all-time list.