Melbourne, Australia ●
Tue, January 11, 2022
ATP responded on Monday to Novak Djokovic’s resounding victory over the Australian government in its visa battle, calling the argument over his vaccine status “damaging on all fronts.”
A Melbourne judge’s ruling overturned Djokovic’s visa cancellation for COVID-19 health reasons and ended the unvaccinated player’s detention at an immigration facility, potentially clearing the way for him to play in the tournament which starts next Monday.
ATP, the governing body of men’s tennis, said it sympathizes with both Djokovic and the Australian public and stressed that it has done everything possible to avoid potential problems for players entering the country. to play the Australian Open.
“ATP fully respects the sacrifices made by the Australian people since the onset of COVID-19 and the strict immigration policies that have been put in place,” the statement said.
As for the world number one, ATP said: “On his way to Melbourne, it is clear that Novak Djokovic believed he had obtained a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with the entry rules.
“The series of events leading up to Monday’s hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including Novak’s well-being and his preparation for the Australian Open.”
“Requests for medical exemptions are made independently of ATP,” the organization said. “However, we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia for clarification throughout this process.”
But the statement made it clear that Djokovic could have avoided the problem.
“ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all ATP Tour players, which we believe is essential for our sport to weather the pandemic … We are encouraged that 97% of the 100 top players are vaccinated ahead of this year’s Australian Open. “