Unvaccinated tennis players will play Australian Open in January

Novak Djokovic impressed by Stefanos Tsitsipas and other 'Next Gens'

As the Australian Open tournament director, Tiley on Wednesday admitted a small cohort of players and staff would be allowed into Melbourne Park without being vaccinated after being granted medical exemptions.

But, at this stage, no players had informed Open officials they had received an exemption.

“So if any player, fan (or) worker is on site here – you’re either vaccinated or you have a medical exemption that’s approved and you’re on the Australian Immunisation Register.

“That provides us with safety and an extra level of comfort on site.”

Tiley said he spoke to Djokovic on the weekend, revealing the Serbian wants to play — but the tennis boss still does not know his vaccination status.

“If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption,” Tiley said.

“(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.”

Tennis Australia also released a statement on the matter a few weeks ago, declaring medical exemptions would have to follow “strict government guidelines”.

“All players, participants and staff at the Australian Open have to be vaccinated,” the statement read. “Any application for a medical exemption must follow strict government guidelines based on ATAGI clinical advice.

“This is the same process that applies to any person wanting to enter Australia.

“Any suggestion that Tennis Australia is seeking ‘loopholes’ within this process is simply untrue.

“Adjudicating on medical exemptions is the domain of independent medical experts.

“We are not in a position to influence this process and nor should we.

“The safety of everyone is always our priority as we plan for Australian Open 2022 and all lead-in events.”

Tsitsipas has been in trouble regarding Covid statements before, with the Greek government reminding the 23-year-old that he is not a scientist after he said: “I personally know some people who have had them. I’m not against it, I just see no reason for someone in my age group to need to be vaccinated.”

Ahead of the Australian Open, world number one Novak Djokovic has refused to reveal his vaccination status and there is growing uncertainty over whether he will be present in Melbourne. 

Tsitsipas took to social media to post a cryptic tweet, seemingly adding his voice to the pressing controversy. 

“Everybody got an opinion about things they know nothing about,” the world number four wrote.