Novak Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title this year. After some talk of him possibly missing the event because of his COVID-19 vaccination status and Australia's quarantine rules, the tennis legend took to Instagram to announce that he had received a medical exemption from getting vaccinated.
Here's the announcement:
View this post on Instagram
The Australian Open is taking place from Jan. 17-30 this year. To participate in the event, all players must be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be granted a medical exemption by an independent panel of experts, per ESPN.
This statement was made by the organizers of the Australian Open on Djokovic's exemption:
“Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts,” the statement said.
“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health. They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation guidelines.”
Novak Djokovic won the 2021 Australian Open by defeating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets. Djokovic has won this event a record nine times and has a total of 20 Grand Slam wins, which is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most all-time.
With this exemption, Djokovic will now have a chance to make history later this month. This news comes after it seemed like there was a decent chance he wouldn't play. The world No. 1 recently pulled out of the Serbia team for the ATP Cup in Sydney because of his vaccination status. His father had also told a Serbian TV channel that Tennis Australian making the vaccine mandatory was essentially “blackmail” and hinted the star would be pulling out of the major event.
But that won't be the case now, and Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his Australian Open crown.