Local media reports said that everyone on the entry list needed to be vaccinated or have a medical exemption. Tennis Australia did not immediately reply to a request for confirmation of that rule.
Djokovic, who will be bidding for a record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title if he plays at the tournament, said last week that he would be making a decision ‘very soon’ about travelling to Australia.
A loophole emerged on Tuesday that could allow Djokovic to defend his title next year if he was unjabbed. A ‘valid medical exemption’ would let players get round the strict quarantine rules.
Djokovic apparently has grounds to apply for the exemption and is backed by Tennis Australia officials, News Corp reported.
World No 1 Novak Djokovic was named on the official entry list for next year’s Australian Open
Djokovic will be bidding for record 21st Grand Slam men’s singles title if he plays at tournament
‘[The rules] include certified proof of vaccination or a valid medical exemption approved by Australian medical officials,’ a Tennis Australia spokesman said.
‘What has also been made clear by health officials is that international arrivals who don’t meet these requirements will need to quarantine for 14 days.’
Tennis Australia denied the suggestion it was seeking ‘loopholes’ to help Djokovic enter the country.
‘Any application for a medical exemption must follow strict government guidelines based on ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) clinical advice,’ a Tennis Australia spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia.
‘This is the same process that applies to any person wanting to enter Australia.’
‘Adjudicating on medical exemptions is the domain of independent medical experts. We are not in a position to influence this process and nor would we.’
‘Top seed Serbia, headlined by World No.1 Novak Djokovic, will lead Group A, which will also features Norway, Chile and Spain,’ the ATP said in a statement on its website on Tuesday.
The highest-ranked player was also named in the Serbia team for the ATP Cup, which will be held in Sydney in early January, when that was released on Tuesday.
To play in Sydney without being vaccinated, the state government would have to apply for an exemption for Djokovic and he would have to undergo 14 days quarantine upon arrival.
But 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams was absent from list on Wednesday
Meanwhile Williams, who won the last of her seven Australian Open titles in 2017, had an injury-disrupted season and has not played since she limped out of her first-round match at Wimbledon in June due to the leg injury.
Tournament organiser Craig Tiley said last month that the 40-year-old American, who needs one more Grand Slam title to match Margaret Court’s record of 24, would be playing at Melbourne Park.
After her semi-final loss to Naomi Osaka at this year’s Australian Open, Williams paused for a moment and put her hand on her heart as she left Rod Laver Arena to a standing ovation, later tearfully cutting short a news conference.
Her name was the most obvious omission from the field with 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer having already confirmed that he would skip the event as he recovers from another round of knee surgeries.