Back
Martin Pakula

2022 Aus Open To Proceed But Stricter Rules Will Be Enforced For Unvaccinated Athletes

V
ictorian Sports Minister, Martin Pakula has announced that unvaccinated tennis players will face stricter rules at the 2022 Australian Open than vaccinated athletes.

Martin Pakula said he is very confident of the first grand slam of January going ahead in Melbourne.

“It’s hard to be certain about anything right now, but I’m very confident that the Australian Open will go ahead,” Mr Pakula said.

“On our vaccine horizon, the second half of January, we should be in a very good position.

“We were able to get the tournament away last year, and that was with zero per cent of the community vaxxed.

“So I’m very confident the Australian Open will go ahead, and it’s very important that it does.”

“Whether or not it’s as strict as you won’t get into Australia if you’re not vaccinated, that I don’t know,” Mr Pakula told SEN. 

“What I’m very clear on, what I’m very sure about, is that the rules for unvaccinated players and the rules for vaccinated players, I’m quite confident will be very different.

“We’ll provide clarity for the ATP and the WTA very shortly, but I think they can be very confident that being vaccinated will be a wise thing for them to do before they seek to come to Australia.

Former number 1, Andy Murry, fully vaccinated, says players have a responsibility to “look out for others,” as a regular international sports traveller.

“The reason why all of us are getting vaccinated is to look out for the wider public. We have a responsibility as players that are travelling across the world, yeah, to look out for everyone else as well,” Murry said.

“I’m happy that I’m vaccinated. I’m hoping that more players choose to have it in the coming months.

“I know the conversations with regards to the Australian Open and stuff are already happening. The players that have been vaccinated are going to potentially be able to; well, they’re going to be having very different conditions to players who are not vaccinated.

“I can see it’s going to become an issue over the coming months.

“If tournaments are going to go ahead and be held like the Aussie Open – a lot of the tour is not vaccinated – but for them to go ahead and host it, they’re going to be allowing the players that have had the vaccination to train and move freely between the hotel and stuff, potentially not having to quarantine and things like that.

Tennis Australia, CEO, Craig Tiley, said: “As far as vaccinations (go), we’re hoping as a nation that we’ll be at the target of 80 per cent-plus by the time we get to November, and that will certainly help the situation for the event in January.

“There’s a lot of time between now and when we get going, but at this point of time, we’re planning on having a bubble, a two-week bubble, where the players will be able to move freely between the hotel and the courts,” Mr Tiley said.

“Previously, we had quarantine, but now we’re looking at more of a bubble-type scenario.”

Tennis Australia is yet to outline quarantine requirements or vaccination conditions for international players and spectators.

This week at the US Open, fans were required to show proof of vaccination upon entry.

In both the men’s and women’s main tours, the vaccination rates of the players are currently just above 50%.