Torn between a love of sport, public health concerns and Novak Djokovic’s pursuit of a Grand Slam record, Australia is experiencing a crisis of indecision as it considers whether players who are not immune to Covid-19 should be allowed to compete in the Australian Open.
For the authorities responsible for making such decisions, the ball seems to be in the court of others.
After months of speculation, the situation finally seemed clear last week, when Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said tennis players would have to be doubly vaccinated to enter the country.
But four days later, the waters turned cloudy again when a leaked email from the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said unvaccinated tennis players would be welcome if they were willing to spend 14 days in quarantine.
Hawks’ office declined to comment on the WTA’s letter, but other officials have since undermined the minister’s statement, saying the issue is far from settled.
“It’s not up to me [decidir] If they are accepted into the country, Daniel Andrews, who heads the Victorian state government and strongly opposes entry for those who have not been vaccinated, said on Tuesday, but if they are accepted, we will deal with that risk. (26).
Djokovic, the world’s number one tennis player, is refusing to reveal his vaccination status and last week said he might not play at Melbourne Park, “things are as they are”.