The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) called the series of events leading up to Novak Djokovic’s country hearing on Monday, “damaging on all fronts” – including to the athlete’s well-being, according to a statement from the association on Monday.
“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 statement read. “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," the statement adds.
ATP added that player medical exemption requests are made independently of the association but that it has been in “constant contact” with Tennis Australia to “seek clarity throughout this process.” The association welcomed the outcome of Monday’s hearing, in which a judge quashed the cancellation of Djokovic’s visa.
The association said it continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP tour, calling it “essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic.” It added that 97 percent of the Top 100 players are vaccinated leading into this year’s Australian Open.
“The ATP fully respects the sacrifices the people of Australia have made since the onset of COVID-19 and the stringent immigration policies that have been put in place,” the association said. It added, “Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have however highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules.”