Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic Given Medical Exemption to Play Australian Open

Novak Djokivic took to Instagram to announce that he would be competing in the Australian Open as he has now been given a vaccination exemption.

He posted to his 9.6 million Instagram followers that he would be competing in the tournament starting on January 17

On Tuesday January 4, 2022, he posted the picture, which has already been liked over 145,000 times, showing him at an airport smiling while leaning up against his sports bag. He followed up the Instagram post with a post on Twitter.

He captioned the picture: "Happy New Year everybody! Wishing you all health, love and happiness in every present moment and may you feel love and respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.

"I've spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I'm heading down under with an exemption permission. Let's go 2022."

The Australian state of Victoria, where the Open is held, says that evidence of medical exemptions for overseas travellers need to show "a certification from a medical practitioner that the person is unable to receive a dose, or a further dose, of a COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical contraindication, or an acute medical illness (including where the person has been diagnosed with COVID-19) or a documented diagnosed COVID-19 infection confirmed by a PCR test within the previous 6 months."

Djokovic recently pulled out of a warm-up tournament in Australia, the ATP Cup in Sydney, fueling speculation that he might not play the year's first Grand Slam event in Melbourne.

Djokovic had previously refused to confirm whether or not he was vaccinated.

In November last year, Djokovic's father Srdjan Djokvic hinted that his son would not be playing in the Australian Open and defending his title due to its vaccination requirements.

According to a BBC sport report, Srdjan Djokvic spoke to Serb TV and spoke out against individuals being told they needed to be vaccinated.

He said: "Under these blackmails and conditions, he probably won't play.

"I wouldn't do that and he's my son, so you decide for yourself.

"As far as vaccines and non-vaccines are concerned, it is the personal right of each of us whether we will be vaccinated or not. No one has the right to enter into our intimacy."

In early December, Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley said that no players had been granted an exemption.

However, on January 4 in a media statement, the Australian Open said: "Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts."

The tournament said that "every applicant was given due consideration."

The 2022 Australian Open Tournament is set to start on January 17 and finish on January 30.

Newsweek has contacted Tennis Australia for comment.

Novak Djokovic
Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball during the men's singles semi-final tennis match between Croatia and Serbia of the Davis Cup tennis tournament at the Madrid arena in Madrid on December 3, 2021.Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic Given Medical Exemption to Play Australian Open Oscar Del Pozo/Getty