Australian Open chief Craig Tiley subtly denies Novak Djokovic of any special provisions; says “Vaccination is necessary”

Australian Open director Craig Tiley recently spoke about Novak Djokovic's status and the ongoing Omicron variant threat.

Craig Tiley and Novak Djokovic
Craig Tiley and Novak Djokovic

Ever since Victorian premier announced that only vaccinated players will be allowed to enter Australia, their has been a debate on whether forcing players to take the vaccine is a right thing or not. While majority agree that vaccination is the way to move ahead, certain section still are adamant that getting shot with a vaccine should be an individual’s call.

Australian Open director, Craig Tiley recently caught up with Sydney Morning Herald and spoke about the summer calendar which was floated a few days ago. He said that things weren’t easy but everything is on track for a great summer.

“No, it’s hasn’t been easy. It started right after the first day of the Australian Open this year and planning through many more complications, but we’re very pleased to announce a full schedule- 17 professional events starting January 1 across Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. Everything is on track for a great summer,” he said.

Australian Open
Australian Open

Lately, Covid-19’s new variant, Omicron is a a big threat. It was found a few days ago in South Africa is considered very deadly. Tiley spoke about the same and told that there is not much clarity about the virus and as of now, the full summer is planned.

We knew when we announced the event that there were going to be more challenges because this is the nature of the world we’ve been living in since the last 2 years,” he said. “But we’re still waiting- I’ve been talking to the government overnight and there are still a lot of unanswered questions so I think in the next 14 days we’ll have some more clarity. But at this point, the plans are going as they are. We’re looking forward to a 100% capacity crowd in January.”

No special provisions for any athlete

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Tiley continued that every athlete will have to follow protocols and their won’t be any exemptions.

“Every athlete that gets on should have a negative PCR test, gets tested again when they arrive and there will be some protocols and programs to ensure everyone is safe. So at this point, everything is as on with a full summer planned ahead,” he said.

“This has been the intention from the beginning. When the premiere announced that coming to Victoria and playing at Melbourne Park will require vaccination, that included everyone- fans, staff and also the players. It was only 50% of the players that were vaccinated and that will get close to 90%. There’s still time to the date when everyone arrives at the end of December and everyone knows that they have to be vaccinated 7 days before they arrive in Australia,” he added.

He further spoke about Novak Djokovic and said that the Serb has made it clear that he’ll keep his vaccination status private. He also said that everyone will have to submit a certified proof of vaccination, making it clear that Djokovic won’t have any privileges.

He said: “Novak has made clear that his status is private and personal to him and he is entitled to it. But to come to Australia, their has to be a certified proof of vaccination that gets cleared by medical officials here and that will be the same for everyone. So everyone understands it and is well received. And yes, we’ve contributed to more players getting vaccinated because we’re the first event that required mandatory vaccination.”

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