Leaked email reveals shock twist in Australian Open vaccine drama

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Novak Djokovic, pictured here after winning the 2021 Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic might be allowed into the country for the Australian Open after all. Image: Getty

It looks like unvaccinated tennis players might be allowed into the country to play the Australian Open after all.

Government officials last week declared international players would be required to be fully vaccinated in order to be granted entry into Australia for the first grand slam of the year in January.

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Victoria recently introduced a vaccination mandate for all professional athletes.

That threw the participation of some of the biggest stars in the world - namely Novak Djokovic - into huge doubt, with Djokovic continuing to refuse to reveal whether or not he has had the jab.

However a leaked email from Tennis Australia to the WTA has since emerged on social media which appears to suggest unvaccinated players will be allowed into the country after all.

Leading tennis writer Ben Rothenberg tweeted the email on Monday, which says unvaccinated players will be granted entry into the country but will have to quarantine for 14 days.

"Per email sent to WTA players just now, Tennis Australia has told WTA PC that fully vaccinated players won’t be required to quarantine or bubble at all," Rothenberg tweeted.  

"Unvaccinated players will be allowed to enter, TA tells WTA, but must do 14 days of hotel quarantine."

The email also states that unvaccinated players must record a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before departing to Australia and submit to regular testing while in the country.

The email states that fully vaccinated players won't need to complete hotel quarantine or stay within a bubble during their time in Melbourne.

Rothenberg said the rules could still be changed based on directions from the state or federal government, while Australian Open organisers are said to still be in discussions with the Victorian government.

Huge twist in Australian Open vaccination drama

The fresh development comes in complete contrast to comments made by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews and Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke last week.

Andrews said unvaccinated sports stars would be unlikely to receive a visa, while Hawke confirmed there was no prospect of travel rules being relaxed for incoming tennis players.

"Not at this time. Our health advice is that when we open the borders, everyone that comes to Australia will have to be double vaccinated," Mr Hawke told ABC Radio.

"I don't have a message to Novak. I have a message to everyone who wishes to visit Australia, you'll need to be double vaccinated.

"That's a universal application, not just to tennis players."

Alex Hawke, pictured here speaking at Parliament House in Canberra.
Alex Hawke speaks at Parliament House in Canberra. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Andrews said he believes the issue will be taken out of the state government's hands.

"I don't think an unvaccinated tennis player is going to get a visa to come into this country," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"If they did get a visa, they'd probably have to quarantine for a couple of weeks when no other players will have to.

"AFL players have to be vaccinated, but they're Aussies, they're not coming from other countries.

"I don't think any other tennis player, or golfer, or Formula One driver, will even get a visa to get here.

"Professional sport is part of that authorised worker list and they have to be double dose vaccinated."

World No.1 Djokovic was asked on Monday about his chances of defending his crown at Melbourne Park in January.

"Things being as they are, I still don't know if I will go to Melbourne," he told Serbian daily Blic.

"I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.

"People go too far these days in taking the liberty to ask questions and judge a person.

"Whatever you say 'yes, no, maybe, I am thinking about it', they will take advantage."

with AAP

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