Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic received a medical exemption on Wednesday which will allow him to attend the upcoming Australian Open despite being unvaccinated against Covid-19.
Many people on social media found the exemption unfair. Cities like Melbourne, which hosts the tournament, were under the world’s longest lockdown in 2020, with many Australians unable to visit their families. But organisers of the tournament say the decision has come after a ‘rigorous review process’ conducted by a panel of medical experts.
Taking to Twitter, Djokovic wrote: ” Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.”
“I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022,” he added.
Djokovic has already won nine Australian Open titles and will be bidding for his 21st Grand Slam.
The tournament is set to begin from January 17.
Earlier, Australia’s Indian Premier League (IPL) cricketers had been left in limbo after the tournament was suspended in response to India’s Covid-19 crisis.
More than 30 people abandoned in India were unable to fly home after the Australian government had imposed a travel ban and threatened citizens who attempt to return with a hefty fine or even jail. The players were later allowed to land in Sydney after two weeks of the league’s suspension.
Players, coaches and commentators caught a charter flight from the Maldives that touched down at Sydney Airport.