Tennis: ATP says events leading to Djokovic’s court hearing ‘damaging on all fronts’

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MELBOURNE (REUTERS) – The events that led to Novak Djokovic being held in an immigration detention centre after arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open amid a dispute over his Covid-19 vaccine medical exemption have been “damaging on all fronts,” the ATP said on Tuesday (Jan 11).

The ATP, the governing body of men’s tennis, applauded Monday’s ruling that allowed Djokovic to remain in Melbourne and compete in next week’s tournament but said the confusion surrounding the world No. 1’s entry into the country highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules.

“In travelling to Melbourne, it’s clear Novak Djokovic believed he had been granted a necessary medical exemption in order to comply with entry regulations,” the ATP said in a statement.

“The series of events leading to Monday’s court hearing have been damaging on all fronts, including for Novak’s well-being and preparation for the Australian Open.

“Player medical exemption requests are made independently of ATP, however, we have been in constant contact with Tennis Australia to seek clarity throughout this process.

“We welcome the outcome of Monday’s hearing and look forward to an exciting few weeks of tennis ahead.”

The ATP, which has faced criticism from some players for not speaking out in Djokovic’s defence, added that it strongly recommends all players get vaccinated and said 97 per cent of the top 100 players were vaccinated.

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