Tennis-Vaccinations necessary for Australian Open visas, immigration minister says

CANBERRA (Reuters) – All players that want a visa to compete in the Australian Open will need to be fully vaccinated, the country’s minister for immigration said on Wednesday, putting the participation of World number one Novak Djokovic in doubt.

Djokovic, who is bidding for a men’s record 21st Grand Slam singles title, has declined to reveal his vaccination status, and has said he is unsure if he would defend his Australian Open crown.

Clarifying Australia’s requirements for players looking for a visa, the country’s Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke said foreign players will be required to be fully vaccinated.

“You’ll need to be double vaccinated to visit Australia. That’s a universal application, not just to tennis players. I mean that every visitor to Australia will need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke told Australian Broadcasting Corporation radio.

“I don’t have a message to Novak. I have a message to everybody that wishes to visit Australia. He’ll need to be double vaccinated,” Hawke said.

Australia has shut its international borders to non-citizens and non-permanent residents for 18 months, though there have been some high-profile exceptions.

International travel is expected to begin for Australian citizens within weeks, with tourism expected to resume in early 2022. [L1N2QX01H]

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Toby Davis)