'Can't be right': Uproar over Australian Open 'double standards'

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·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
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Novak Djokovic (pictured left) reacting during the Australian Open final and (pictured right) Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews during a press coference.
Australians have reacted to an email, which reported unvaccinated players would be able to take part in the Australian Open, despite state premier Daniel Andrews' (pictured right) comments last week. (Getty Images)

The public has reacted with disdain after news broke unvaccinated tennis players could still travel to the country ahead of the Australian Open, despite contradictory news last week.

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 the WTA appears to claim unvaccinated players will be able to take part in the Australian Open if they agree to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.

Leading tennis writer Ben Rothenberg tweeted the email on Monday, which also stated 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.

This is in contrast to Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews' news that there would be no 'special deals' for unvaccinated players entering the state from overseas.

The news unvaccinated players could be travelling to Australia and taking part in the grand slam certainly rubbed many the wrong way.

Former NBA star Andrew Bogut let rip at the potential change of rules, before deleting the tweet.

“Victorian residents CANNOT enter Victoria to return to their homes under the same conditions Tennis players can enter Victoria to play Tennis,” Bogut said, in the now deleted tweet.

His thoughts were echoed by many on social media.

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

While the email details reported changes, the Victorian Government could still change the status for unvaccinated players arriving before January.

The sentiment that the rules could change was confirmed after Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula maintained nothing was set in stone.

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse," Mr Pakula told Melbourne radio 3AW.

"We're still talking to the feds and that will play out over the next two or three weeks.

"And it will be done in plenty of time for all of the players to know what the requirements are and for those who aren't vaccinated to get vaccinated.

"We are still resolved with Tennis Australia and the Commonwealth the question of whether unvaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed into Australia at all and, if so, under what circumstances."

Email contradicts Premier Daniel Andrews' claims

The fresh development comes in complete contrast to comments made by Victorian Premier 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."

with AAP

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