'Damaging on all fronts': ATP on Novak Djokovic's visa battle

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Melbourne [Australia], January 11 (ANI): The ATP on Monday termed the saga surrounding World number one men’s singles player Novak Djokovic as “damaging on all fronts”.

Djokovic won his legal appeal on procedural grounds, quashing the border officer’s initial decision to cancel his visa ahead of the Australian Open.

The ATP said the series of events leading to Monday’s court hearing might affect Djokovic’s well-being and preparation for the 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. Complications in recent days related to player entry into Australia have however highlighted the need for clearer understanding, communication and application of the rules,” the statement by ATP read.

“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 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,” it added.

The ATP further said it strongly recommends every player get the COVID-19 vaccine as it is essential for tennis to navigate the pandemic.

“More broadly, ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination for all players on the ATP Tour, which we believe is essential for our sport to navigate the pandemic,” ATP said.

“We are encouraged that 97 per cent of the Top 100 players are vaccinated leading into this year’s Australian Open,” it added.

Notably, Djokovic was granted a medical exemption to enter Australia and compete in the Australian Open because he had recently tested positive for COVID-19, court documents published on Saturday has revealed.

The Australian Open organizers granted a medical exemption to vaccine-sceptic Djokovic after which he jetted into Melbourne last week.

However, on landing the nine-time Australian Open champion spent eight hours in detention at Melbourne Airport where he unsuccessfully pleaded his case to border officials. (ANI)

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