MELBOURNE, Oct. 25 (Reuters) – Unvaccinated athletes will be able to compete in next year’s Australian Open after suffering 14 days of quarantine, the WTA Tour told its players, according to an email leaked to American media.
The email, obtained by freelance tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg, contradicts a statement made last week by Australia’s Immigration Minister that players would need to be doubly vaccinated to get a visa to compete in the Grand Slam. Read more
Up to a third of WTA and male ATP players remain unvaccinated, according to reports, and world number one male Novak Djokovic has refused to disclose his vaccination status. Read more
In the email, the WTA said it wanted to “clear up false and misleading information” about the terms that players would be subject to at the Australian Open.
The WTA said the information came from the organizers of Tennis Australia, who had asked the players to keep it confidential for “a few days” as they were still discussing the details with the government.
Tennis Australia declined to comment.
Victoria State Sports Minister Martin Pakula said no decision has been made on whether unvaccinated foreign players will be allowed into the country.
“It’s not settled,” he told 3AW radio.
âWe are still in the process of working out with Tennis Australia and the Commonwealth whether unvaccinated foreign nationals will be allowed into Australia and, if so, under what circumstances they will be allowed.
“We don’t expect this to be fixed for a few weeks.”
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews said last week there would be no special offers for unvaccinated players to compete in the state, where vaccination is mandatory for athletes, coaches and officials of the professional sport. Read more
Pakula said TA boss Craig Tiley told him the vaccination rate among tennis players was almost 80%.
He added that fully vaccinated players would not have to be quarantined upon arrival in Australia.
“The only thing we have assured them all is that vaccinated players will be treated the same as any other vaccinated entering the country,” he said.
From November 1, fully vaccinated citizens, permanent residents and their family members based abroad who arrive in Sydney and Melbourne will no longer need to self-quarantine. Read more
All players arriving from overseas for the 2021 Australian Open were forced to undergo two weeks of quarantine, although most were allowed to leave their hotels for training.
Vaccinated players entering Australia from December 1 will not be required to self-quarantine or stay in a biosecure bubble, the WTA email said.
The email also states that the qualifiers, which have been moved to the United Arab Emirates for the 2021 tournament, would again take place at Melbourne Park as usual.
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the WTA.
The Australian Open is scheduled to start on January 17.
Reporting by Ian Ransom in Melbourne and Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; edited by Pritha Sarkar and Stephen Coates
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