Morrison was at odds with his immigration secretary Alex Hawke, who said last week that tennis players and other athletes must be fully vaccinated to enter the country.
The Prime Minister’s announcement is good news for Tennis Australia, the Australian Open organization that wants world number one Novak Djokovic to take part in the tournament in Melbourne. The vaccine status of Djokovic and some of the best players is not clear. Currently, 70 percent of the top 100 players, both women and men, are fully vaccinated.
The State of Victoria, where the competition will take place, will of course enforce the rules of isolation until the last detail. Victoria’s Prime Minister Daniel Andrews vehemently opposes allowing immunizations. He said on Tuesday that his state would “manage the risk” if the federal government decides to allow it.
Professional athletes are usually vaccinated in Victoria, as are coaches, officials, the media and other personnel involved in sporting events. That means the best tennis players will soon be the only team not to be vaccinated at the Australian Open, while ball boys and girls, fans and referees will need vaccination certification.
Djokovic said last week that he could not play in the tournament until the rules were “as they are”. Now that Prime Minister Morrison has relaxed the rules, the chances of the Serbian star participating have suddenly increased. Tennis organizer Australia has already promised to isolate unvaccinated players in luxury hotels in Adelaide.
If Djokovic decides to take part in the Australian Open, he could win his 21st singles Grand Slam title. With that he will be behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal – twenty titles.
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