Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews has shut the door on unvaccinated tennis players taking part in the Australian Open following the Federal Government’s ‘full 180’ over its border rules.
A week after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke indicated that unvaccinated players would be banned from entering the country, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the exemptions for this group to enter will remain in place.
But Andrews has drawn a line in the sand to say his government will not seek exemptions or allow unvaccinated players to play in a tournament where other workers and fans are all vaccinated.
“The feds run the border and as far as anything the feds say about it is clear because their position is 180 to what the immigration minister said,” Andrews told the reporters on Wednesday.
“What I say just as clearly on behalf of every vaccinated Victorian who is doing the right thing…the only fair thing to do is to be very clear with every Victorian, my government will not seek exemption for any unvaccinated player. “
Andrews said the government will have to seek exemptions for vaccinated players as the number will exceed the cap.
But he said it would be “not very fair” to vaccinated Victorians and tennis fans to allow unvaccinated players into Melbourne Park to play.
“I’m not going to ask and demand that people sitting in the stands, people working at the event, be vaccinated while the players aren’t,” Andrews said.
“So we’re not going to ask for an exemption, so the problem is basically solved.”
Tennis officials have never released vaccination rates and estimates range from 50% to almost 80% assuming players waited until the end of their season to get the shot.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev, who made the Australian Open and US Open finals this year, declined to reveal their status.
Djokovic, in particular, is reluctant to get vaccinated or come to Australia if a strict quarantine is necessary.
“To be honest, I’m not particularly concerned about (the setback in tennis),” Andrews said.
“I’m not going to help them come here. They don’t need to come here, it’s not compulsory.
The premier has signaled he will take the same approach when Formula 1 returns to Melbourne in April 2022.