Novak Djokovic given Covid-19 vaccination ‘exemption’ to play at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic has revealed he has an “excemption permission” to play at the Australian Open.

Rules for the Australian Open initially stated that players must be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to participate in the tournament.

Novak Djokovic had previously criticised the rules and has now confirmed that he has an exemption to play in Victoria without being double jabbed.

In a social media post published on Tuesday, the Serbian wrote: "I've spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I'm heading Down Under with an exemption permission.”

The Australian Open has since put ut a media statement reading: "Novak Djokovic will compete at the Australian Open and is on his way to Australia.

"Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.

"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 (ATAGI) guidelines.

"The COVID-19 vaccination protocols for the Australian Open, including the process for players seeking medical exemptions, have been finalised by the Victorian Department of Health and Tennis Australia.

"Under an independent process, applications for a medical exemption were first reviewed by an expert panel made up of doctors from the fields of immunology, infectious disease and general practice.

"Applications that met the national guidelines set by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) were then subjected to a second review conducted by a Government-appointed panel of medical experts, the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel.

"The applications were reviewed and approved only in line with ATAGI guidelines. The process included the redaction of personal information to ensure privacy for all applicants.

"The multi-step independent review process was designed to ensure the safety of everyone at the Australian Open."

Djokovic is currently favourite to defend his title, with Roger Federer set to miss out due to injury, while Rafael Nadal has recently recovered from Covid-19.