Novak Djokovic got an Australian Open vaccine exemption and Twitter is furious

The decision to grant Novak Djokovic an exemption from Covid-19 vaccination requirements for Australian Open has drawn major criticism. Many took to Twitter to express their feelings.

 |  3-minute read |   05-01-2022
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Novak Djokovic has been granted permission to defend his Australian Open title in Melbourne with an exemption from Covid-19 vaccination requirements. On Tuesday, Djokovic took to social media to make the announcement about his participation in the Tennis tournament. 

He said, "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. I am ready to live and breathe tennis in the next few weeks of competition."

The tournament begins on January 17 and requires all the players and staff members to either be vaccinated against Covid or have a medical exemption granted by an independent panel of experts.

This decision by the organisers has attracted the ire of Australians who haven't been able to travel within the country or globally. The decision has been regarded as highly controversial in a country that is seeing the virus spread like wildfire with the capital city, Melbourne, bearing some of the world's strictest restrictions. Not just this, netizens from across the world have reacted angrily and the exemption to play has invited major backlash. 

TWITTER REACTS

Many took to Twitter to share how they felt about the decision: 

Calling the decision 'a kick in the gut', users expressed their frustration

A user called out Djokovic's 'audacity' to post about the 'exemption' 

A slap in the face...

A user compared how Naomi Osaka was asked to withdraw from the French Open for not doing press interactions, while Djokovic was given a medical exemption to participate in the tournament. 

 

DJOKOVIC'S RESISTANCE TOWARDS VACCINE MANDATES

Djokovic, who is now confirmed to be unvaccinated, has been vocal about his resistance to vaccine mandates in the past, and called for freedom across the world. He been massively criticised for the same and is among the handful of players who've got the medical exemption to participate in the tournament.

BOARD ACKNOWLEDGES BACKLASH; EXPLAINS TWO-STAGED 'ROBUST' PROCESS
 

The Chief Executive of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley said that 26 athletes applied for exemption permission but only "a handful" were granted, under guidelines set by federal regulators.

The state employment minister, Jaala Pulford, acknowledged that Australians would find the decision baffling, but said the board followed an “incredibly robust” process where Djokovic wasn't given any preference. 

Tennis Australia also mentioned that the particpants seeking the exemption went through a two-stage process — the application was first assessed by a panel of experts in Tennis Australia, and then by the Victorian government.

 

 

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