Tennis Australia in dark on Novak Djokovic, scheduled to play in ATP Cup on New Year’s Day


Nadal is listed to play a lead-up event in Melbourne but, after his COVID-19 diagnosis, openly said he was doubtful for the Australian Open.

Djokovic has more than once refused to reveal whether he has been vaccinated, or whether intends to do so.

Tiley said he had spoken to 20-time major winner Djokovic and his team last weekend. The Serbian, however, will not be obligated to reveal his vaccination status to tennis officialdom.

“If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption. [It’s] his choice on his medical condition, it’s his choice to keep personal and private like all of us would do with any condition we may or may not have.

“We are not going to force him or ask him to disclose that.”

Tiley this week confirmed a “small number” of tennis stars and support staff will be granted medical exemptions from vaccination but, as of Wednesday, he said no players had yet disclosed that they had received an exemption.

Australia’s Department of Health is the national body which administers medical exemptions and the recognition of COVID-19 vaccines.

But the Australian Border Force, under the Department of Home Affairs, controls entry requirements into Australia.

Said Tiley: “Those that would have provided him with the entry requirement – that’s the Border Force – will know that as part of your declaration in coming to Australia, a travel declaration, you declare either your [medical] exemption – which has been done by an independent panel here in Victoria of epidemiologists and doctors – or there’s your vaccine certificate which also has to be certified.


“It’s one of those two. It goes into a travel declaration. That gets approved by Border Force.”

All international travellers to Australia must make a declaration and provide appropriate evidence when they check in for their departing flight demonstrating they are either fully vaccinated, or that they have a medical contraindication to COVID-19 vaccines.

The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) last month issued fresh guidelines on the acute major medical conditions that warrant a temporary medical exemption.

ATAGI said the valid reasons for a temporary exemption include:

• For an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine:

– inflammatory cardiac illness within the past three months, eg, myocarditis or pericarditis; acute rheumatic fever or acute rheumatic heart disease (i.e., with active myocardial inflammation); or acute decompensated heart failure.

• For all COVID-19 vaccines:

– Acute major medical condition (eg. undergoing major surgery or hospital admission for a serious illness). Typically, these are time-limited conditions (or the medical treatment for them is time limited).

– PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, where vaccination can be deferred until six months after the infection. Vaccination should be deferred for 90 days in people who have received anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma therapy.

– Any serious adverse event attributed to a previous dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, without another cause identified, and with no acceptable alternative vaccine available. For example, a person under 60, contraindicated to receive Pfizer vaccine and in whom the risks do not outweigh the benefits for receipt of AstraZeneca vaccine, is eligible for a temporary exemption.

– If the person is a risk to themselves or others during the vaccination process they may warrant a temporary vaccine exemption. This may include a range of individuals with underlying developmental or mental health disorders.

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