Tennis players have been urged to get vaccinated if they want to give themselves the best chance to play at the Australian Open in January.
The state of Victoria, where the Grand Slam will be played from January 17-30, has introduced a vaccine mandate for all professional athletes, although it has not been clarified if athletes from overseas must also be vaccinated.
It has been reported that vaccination rates on the ATP Tour are 65 per cent while the WTA Tour is 60 per cent.
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World No 1 Novak Djokovic is among those yet to confirm whether he has been vaccinated, having been sceptical in the past, but Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula says players should leave no room for doubt.
“If I was an ATP or WTA player, I'd be getting vaccinated," Pakula told local radio station SEN. "That will give them the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open with the more minimal restrictions that might be in place for those people.
“Last year, all of those players had to do their 14 days of quarantine. Right now there looks like there will be different rules for people who enter this country who are vaccinated as against unvaccinated and I don’t think the tennis will be any exception to that.
“Whether or not unvaccinated non-citizens are allowed in at all, that’s something that’s still to be determined in that national sense.
“In terms of what rules apply for people to enter Australia, whether unvaccinated people are allowed in at all, I don’t the answer to that yet. That’s going to be the subject of discussion at national cabinet and among the federal cabinet…those rules are not set by state governments.”
Current Australian rules state that all international travellers entering the country need to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at a designated facility.
It is expected that rather than being placed in hotel quarantine as they were this year, players will be in bio-secure bubbles, which will allow them slightly more freedom.
The regulations at the 2021 Australian Open frustrated some players as they were unable to train as much as they wanted and had to spend most of their time in their hotel room.
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Australian Open: Will players need to be vaccinated? What are quarantine rules?