Unvaccinated players will still be allowed to participate in next year’s Australian Open.
An email from Tennis Australia [TA] told the WTA Players’ Council, obtained by tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg, that unvaccinated players, however, will have to complete 14 days of harsh quarantine in a hotel.
The memo asked players to “keep this information confidential until the government makes an official announcement”.
Update on #AusOpen
In an email just sent to WTA players, Tennis Australia told WTA PC that fully vaccinated players don’t need to be quarantined or bubbled at all.
Unvaccinated players can enter, TA tells WTA, but must be in hotel quarantine for 14 days. pic.twitter.com/cu4NV8abYB
Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) October 24, 2021
Government leaders last week urged the world’s tennis stars to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to participate in the Open, casting doubt on Novak Djokovic’s participation in the Melbourne Park Major.
Djokovic has repeatedly refused to reveal whether he has received a shot, having previously also expressed hope that the vaccine would not become mandatory for players on the ATP circuit.
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said on Tuesday that unvaccinated sports stars are unlikely to get visas, while federal immigration minister Alex Hawke confirmed on Wednesday there was no prospect of easing travel rules for inbound tennis players.
“Not at the moment. Our health advice is that when we open the borders, everyone coming to Australia should be double vaccinated,” Hawke told ABC Radio.
But it seems that the Victorian and Federal governments have both made a U-turn.
“We feel the need to reach out to all of you to clear up false and misleading information recently circulated by other parties about the conditions players will face at next year’s Australian Open,” the email begins.
“We have been in regular communication with Craig (Tiley) and the Tennis Australia team over the past few months and they shared some good news with us during our Players’ Council call last Friday so you know the facts and don’t get confused by rumours. that have been circulating.
“Tennis Australia had asked us to wait a few days as they were still working with the government on the details.
“As Victoria’s vaccination coverage will reach 80% by the end of the week and 90% next month, conditions for players at the Australian Open have been confirmed to improve significantly.”
The email stated that fully vaccinated players can arrive in Australia from December 1 and will not be required to remain in quarantine or a training bubble like this year.
But in addition to unvaccinated players who must be quarantined, they will be subjected to regular COVID-19 testing.
TA would comment further on Monday.
Victorian Sports Secretary Martin Pakula insisted Monday morning that nothing was set in stone.
“I don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” Mr Pakula told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“We are still in talks with the FBI and will be in the next two or three weeks.
“And it will be done well in time so that all players know what the requirements are and that those who have not been vaccinated can get vaccinated.
“We are still in discussions with Tennis Australia and the Commonwealth on whether unvaccinated aliens will be allowed to enter Australia at all and if so, under what circumstances.”
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