For the first time after a week full of controversies, the ATP, the body that governs world men’s tennis, referred to the case of Novak Djokovic, who in an Australian court succeeded in having the suspension of his visa annulled and will finally be able to play the first Grand Slam of the year. The entity had remained outside the legal dispute, although in the statement it clarifies that it was always in contact with the Australian association following the case.
The ruling of a judge in Melbourne annulled the cancellation of the Serbian’s visa for health reasons of Covid-19 and ended the detention of the unvaccinated player at an immigration center, which could clear the way for him to play in the tournament that begins next Monday.
The ATP He emphasized that he had done everything possible to avoid possible problems for players entering the country to play the Australian Open: “The ATP fully respects the sacrifices that the people of Australia have made since the start of COVID-19 and the strict immigration policies that have been put in place. “
As for the world’s number one, the document notes: “When traveling to Melbourne, it is clear that Novak Djokovic believed that he had been granted a medical exemption necessary to comply with entry regulations ”. In this sense, it clarifies: “Requests for medical exemption are made independently of the ATP “Said the agency. “However, we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia to seek clarity throughout this process.”
The entity is clear in its position of seeking to prevent this type of conflict from recurring: “The series of events leading up to Monday’s court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open. ” Although he made it clear that Djokovic could have avoided the problem.
“The ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination of all ATP Tour players, which we believe is essential for our sport to overcome the pandemic … We are encouraged that 97% of the top 100 players are vaccinated before this year’s Australian Open. ”
For his part, the number one in the world ranking said on Monday that he still expected to compete in the Australian Open after gaining a surprising victory over the Australian government in their visa battle. The 34-year-old tennis player posted a photo on social media showing him on the court in tennis clothes in Melbourne with coach Goran Ivanisevic and other members of his support staff.
Djokovic landed in the oceanic nation last Wednesday with a mission to defend the crown at the Australian Open, where he hopes to win a record 21st Grand Slam title, to pass the mark of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who will not play due to injury. . But the tournament may still be out of reach. The government attorney told the court that the immigration minister, Alex Hawke, could decide to use his “personal power of cancellation” despite the player’s legal victory.
The full statement
The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the start of COVID-19 and the strict immigration policies that have been put in place. However, complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and enforcement of the rules.
When traveling to Melbourne, it is clear that Novak Djokovic believed that he had been granted a medical exemption necessary to comply with the entry regulations. The series of events leading up to Monday’s court hearing have been detrimental on all fronts, including 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 some exciting tennis weeks ahead.
More generally, the ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination of all ATP Tour players, which we believe is essential for our sport to overcome the pandemic. This is based on scientific evidence to support the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations, which we anticipate will become more stringent over time. We are encouraged that 97 percent of the top 100 players are vaccinated ahead of this year’s Australian Open.
With information from AFP