ATP repeats call for players to be vaccinated after ‘damaging’ Djokovic case

Melbourne, Australia, Jan 11 (EFE).- The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) on Monday repeated its call for players to be vaccinated against Covid-19 following the Australian visa controversy involving world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, which ATP said was “damaging on all fronts.”

A Melbourne court on Monday overturned the Australian authorities’ decision to cancel Djokovic’s visa after he arrived in the city on Wednesday night with a medical exemption to defend his Australian Open title without being vaccinated, citing a recent Covid-19 infection.

“ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP Tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic. This is based on scientific evidence supporting the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations,” the association said in a statement.

It also called for better communication and the application of the rules in granting entry to Australia.

“The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of Covid-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place,” ATP said in reference to the series of strict lockdowns Australians have experienced.

“Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have however highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules,” it added.

The statement said that the events following the cancellation of the Serbian’s visa until his legal victory on Monday allowing him to stay in the country “have been damaging on all fronts including for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open.”

“Player medical exemption requests are made independently of ATP, however we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia to seek clarity throughout this process. We welcome the outcome of Monday’s hearing and look forward to an exciting few weeks of tennis ahead,” it added.

Djokovic, who is aiming to win his 10th Australian Open title, did not take long after his legal win to begin training for the event at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.

“I’m pleased and grateful that the Judge overturned my visa cancellation. Despite all that has happened, I want to stay and try to compete @AustralianOpen,” Djokovic wrote on Twitter alongside a photo from the center court at Melbourne Park with his support staff. EFE


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