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Novak Djokovic's Australian Open hopes boosted by 'back door' plan to avoid ban

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There have been months of uncertainty surrounding the conditions for unvaccinated players at the upcoming Australian Open.

Those travelling to the country must be fully-vaccinated, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has previously admitted that pro players could receive an exemption, provided those who are unjabbed complete a two-week hotel quarantine.

However, the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has repeatedly ruled out applying for an exemption and stood strong on his stance over banning unvaccinated players, previously saying: “What I want to make very clear is that the state of Victoria will not be applying for any exemptions for unvaccinated players.”

Now, it appears Tennis Australia is exploring options to use Sydney as something of a ‘back door’, having unvaccinated players fly to the New South Wales city to complete their mandatory hotel quarantine, after which they would be free to travel down to Melbourne and compete in the Australian Open.

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“The ATP Cup attracts the world’s best tennis players, officials and their supporters to the Greater Sydney area, who stay in our hotels, visit our attractions, and spend in our retail stores, restaurants, bars and cafes.

“It has been a challenging year for Sydney, but we have made swift progress following the NSW Government’s COVID-19 reopening roadmap.

“As we continue on our path to reopening we know events like the ATP Cup will play a vital role in our social and economic recovery.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Tennis Australia is set to announce its full summer schedule by the end of the week.

The plan to allow unvaccinated players into the country through Sydney will come as welcome news to Djokovic, who has been against plans for a vaccine mandate and does not want to disclose his vaccination status.

Last month, the nine-time champion cast doubt over his participation at the Australian Open as he told Serbian newspaper Blic: “I don’t know if I’m going to Australia, I don’t know what’s going on. Currently, the situation is not good at all.

“I have my opinion and it has always been the same. I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not.”

However, at the recent Paris Masters, the world No 1 said he would not comment on the matter again until a final decision was announced.



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