MELBOURNE — Unvaccinated athletes will be able to take part in next year’s Australian Open after undergoing 14 days of quarantine, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour has told its players, according to an e-mail leaked to US media.
The e-mail, obtained by freelance tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg, contradicts a statement made last week by Australia’s immigration minister that players would need to be double vaccinated to get a visa to compete at the Grand Slam.
Up to a third of players on the WTA and men’s ATP remain unvaccinated, according to reports, and men’s world number one Novak Djokovic has declined to disclose his vaccination status to the media.
In the e-mail, the WTA said it wanted to “clear up false and misleading information” about the conditions players would be subjected to at the Australian Open.
The WTA said the information came from organizers Tennis Australia, who had requested players keep it confidential for “a few days” as they were still discussing the details with the government.
All players who arrived from overseas for the 2021 edition of the Australian Open were forced to undergo two weeks of quarantine, although most were allowed to leave their hotels to practice.
Vaccinated players who enter Australia from Dec. 1 will not be required to quarantine or stay in a biosecure bubble, the e-mail said.
The WTA e-mail also says that qualifying, which was moved to the United Arab Emirates for the 2021 tournament, would again take place at Melbourne Park as normal.
There was no immediate response to requests for comment from the WTA or Tennis Australia.
The Australian Open is scheduled to take place in late January next year. — Reuters