It looks like unvaccinated tennis players may be allowed in the country to play the Australian Open after all.
Government officials said last week international players should be fully vaccinated in order to enter Australia for the first grand slam of the year in January.
NOT TRUE: Controversy as Ash Barty equals Serena Williams’ record
‘IT’S PERSONAL’: Ash Barty reflects on Novak Djokovic’s dramas
Victoria recently introduced a vaccination mandate for all professional athletes.
This cast great doubt on the participation of some of the biggest stars in the world – namely Novak Djokovic -, with Djokovic continues to refuse to reveal whether or not he had the jab.
However, a leaked email from Tennis Australia to the WTA has since surfaced on social media, which appears to suggest that unvaccinated players will eventually be allowed into the country.
Senior tennis writer Ben Rothenberg tweeted the email on Monday, which said unvaccinated players will be allowed into the country but will need to be quarantined for 14 days.
“In an email sent to WTA players earlier, Tennis Australia told the WTA PC that fully vaccinated players would not be required to quarantine or chill at all,” Rothenberg tweeted.
“Unvaccinated players will be allowed in,” TA told the WTA, “but must undergo a 14-day hotel quarantine.”
The email also says unvaccinated players must register a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours before leaving for Australia and undergo regular testing while in the country.
The email says fully vaccinated players won’t need to complete hotel quarantine or stay in a bubble while in Melbourne.
Rothenberg said the rules could always be changed based on instructions from the state or federal government, while organizers of the Australian Open are said to still be in talks with the Victorian government.
Huge twist in Australian Open vaccination drama
The new development is complete contrasts with the comments of Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews and Federal Immigration Minister Alex Hawke last week.
Andrews said unvaccinated sports stars are unlikely to receive visas, while Hawke has confirmed there is no chance travel rules will be relaxed for incoming tennis players.
“Not at this time. Our health advice is that when we open the borders, everyone who comes to Australia will need to be doubly vaccinated,” said Mr Hawke. ABC Radio.
“I don’t have a message for Novak. I have a message for anyone wishing to visit Australia, you will need to be double vaccinated.
“It’s a universal app, not just for tennis players.”
Andrews said he thought the question would be taken out of the hands of the state government.
“I don’t think an unvaccinated tennis player will get a visa to enter this country,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
“If they got a visa, they would probably have to quarantine themselves for a few weeks, when no other player will have to.
“AFL players need to be vaccinated, but they are Australians, they are not from other countries.
“I don’t think any other tennis player, golfer or Formula 1 driver will even get a visa to come here.
“Professional sports are on this list of authorized workers and they must be vaccinated at a double dose.”
World number one Djokovic was asked on Monday about his chances of defending his crown at Melbourne Park in January.
“Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,” he told the Serbian daily. Blic.
“I will not disclose my status whether or not I have been vaccinated, this is a private matter and an inappropriate investigation.
“People are going too far these days to take the liberty of asking questions and judging a person.
“Whatever you say ‘yes, no, maybe, I think about it’, they will take advantage.”
Click here to sign up for our newsletter for all the latest landmark stories from Australia and around the world.