It’s turning into clear who Australian tennis followers are going to be backing at this month’s Australian Open—whomever’s enjoying in opposition to Novak Djokovic.
The world No. 1 has arrived in Australia after securing a medical exemption to the match’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. However, with no clarification as to why one of many world’s fittest males may presumably be thought of medically exempt for a vaccine safely delivered to billions of individuals, Australians are livid at what appears to be like like a transparent double normal.
Stephen Parnis, a former vice chairman of the Australian Medical Affiliation, wrote on Twitter: “I don’t care how good a tennis participant he’s. If he’s refusing to get vaccinated, he shouldn’t be allowed in… If this exemption is true, it sends an appalling message to thousands and thousands looking for to cut back [the COVID] threat to themselves and others.”
The deputy Victorian Liberal chief, lawmaker David Southwick, fumed in his own tweet: “What a shame! We’ve had 6 lockdowns—faculties and small companies closed, funerals and weddings advised to not go forward, households separated for months on finish and now a tennis star will get an exemption… A kick within the guts to each Victorian.”
Tennis Australia has refused to reveal why Djokovic was granted a medical exemption when many others gamers weren’t. Talking on Wednesday, as outrage unfold throughout the nation, the group’s chief government Craig Tiley appeared to induce the tennis star to inform the general public why he was granted an exemption to assist calm down the scenario.
“A few of you can be upset about the truth that Novak has are available in due to his statements of the previous couple of years round vaccination,” he mentioned, referring to Djokovic’s repeated anti-vaccine statements. “Nonetheless, it’s finally as much as him to debate with the general public his situation if you happen to select to do this, and the explanation why he obtained an exemption.”
There may be additionally nonetheless some doubt round whether or not Djokovic will truly be within the nation when the top-tier match begins play in Melbourne on Jan. 17. Prime Minister Scott Morrison stepped in on Wednesday to warn Djokovic that, whereas Tennis Australia may need permitted his exemption, it’s nonetheless a authorities resolution whether or not to permit him to enter the nation.
“If he’s not vaccinated he should present acceptable proof that he can’t be vaccinated for medical causes,” Morrison mentioned in Canberra on Wednesday, according to The Guardian. “If that proof is inadequate, then he received’t be handled any totally different to anybody else and will likely be on the following airplane residence—there needs to be no particular guidelines for Novak Djokovic.”
Djokovic hasn’t commented on the furor since he posted a snap of himself at an airport on Tuesday and wrote within the caption that he was “heading Down Underneath with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022!!”
Folks in Australia, the place over 90 p.c of adults are absolutely vaccinated however some are nonetheless forbidden from touring internationally and even from state to state, are clearly struggling to share his enthusiasm.