ATP

PTPA issues Djokovic update, back world number one to compete at Australian Open

By Sports Desk January 07, 2022

The Professional Tennis Players Association (PTPA) has issued an update on Novak Djokovic, expressing their view that he should be allowed to compete at the Australian Open with an approved medical exemption.

World number one Djokovic, who has not declared his COVID-19 vaccination status, seemed set to play in the year's opening major, which he has won nine times previously, after he confirmed he had received a medical exemption to compete.

Protocols in Australia require proof that players have been vaccinated or have a medical exemption to compete at Melbourne Park.

Tournament director Craig Tiley insisted that the 20-time major champion had not been given a "special favour" to play in the tournament, though the decision faced immediate and widespread backlash and on Wednesday, Djokovic's visa application was cancelled.

However, the Serbian's legal team filed for a judicial review, with the case to be heard by Federal Circuit Court Judge Anthony Kelly on Monday at 10am local time in Melbourne.

Djokovic is now hauled up in a Melbourne hotel, and cannot be deported until the hearing has taken place unless he leaves the country of his own volition.

Protestors have also appeared outside of the hotel where Djokovic has been transferred, while Nick Kyrgios has expressed his displeasure at the way the situation has been handled.

The matter has also drawn criticism from Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic, who labelled Australia's treatment of the nation's superstar as "harassment."

On Friday, the PTPA - which was founded by Djokovic and Canadian player Vasek Pospisil in 2020 - issued an update on the situation.

The PTPA has been diligently monitoring the detainment of professional tennis player Novak Djokovic by the Australian Government.

"The PTPA has been in close contact with Mr Djokovic, his family and legal counsel, government officials and Australian Open leadership," a statement read.

"Mr Djokovic has verified his well-being to us. He has also requested that we allow him to personally share the facts of his detainment in his own words, and in his own time.

"With the utmost respect for all personal views on vaccinations, vaccinated athletes and unvaccinated athletes (with an approved medical exemption) should both be afforded the freedom to compete. We will continue to support and advocate for our members, and all players, in a manner that is acceptable to them."

The statement concluded with: "We will continue to monitor his health, safety and well-being. We look forward to his time back on the court."

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