Canberra, Oct 28 | Australia’s Tourism Minister has called for unvaccinated tennis players including the likes of World No 1 Novak Djokovic, to be allowed to compete in the Australian Open after a 14-day quarantine.
Dan Tehan on Thursday said that Australia should take a “common sense” approach to allowing players who are not vaccinated against Covid-19 into the country via hotel quarantine.
“We need to have common sense here and if we can bring players in, especially the best players in the world, and they can do two weeks’ quarantine, that seems to me like a common sense proposition,” he told Seven Network television.
His comments came after the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, shut the door on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s suggestion that unvaccinated players could compete in the first grand slam of 2022, reports Xinhua.
Morrison said on Wednesday that unvaccinated players would be able to travel to Australia in January under exemptions from international travel laws so long as they quarantine for 14 days on arrival.
However, Andrews ruled out Victoria applying for such exemptions.
The debate has cast doubt over whether Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, will be able to defend his 2020 title.
Djokovic has refused to say whether he is vaccinated or not.
“Novak Djokovic has been an absolute [staple] of the Australian Open, one of the best players ever to play at the Australian Open,” Tehan said on Thursday. “It would be a shame if we couldn’t find a way, especially if he was prepared to do two weeks quarantine, for him to come and be able to continue to try and defend the outstanding record he has at the Australian Open.”
He said that the two-week quarantine would be a safe method.
“I think if there are two weeks’ quarantine available, which would mean players are safe and they are the best players in the world, it means we can put the best tournament in the world on and remember, it highlights Melbourne across the globe.”