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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, January 4, 2022

 
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Former doubles world No. 1 Jamie Murray sugests a double standard exists with Novak Djokovic receiving a medical exemption to play the Australian Open.

Photo credit: Stephen White/CameraSport

Former doubles world No. 1 Jamie Murray detects a double standard in the Australian Open's treatment of Novak Djokovic.

World No. 1 Djokovic has received a medical exemption to play the Melbourne major starting on January 17th—and that likely wouldn't happen if he were a rank-and-file player Murray suggests.

More: Djokovic Heads to Australia with Medical Exemption

The Australian Open mandates all players are fully vaccinated to play the tournament or have a medical exemption.

Nine-time defending AO champion Djokovic, who has declined to disclose if he's vaccinated and has opposed tournaments mandating player vaccinations, withdrew from this week's ATP Cup in Sydney while awaiting approval for his AO medical exemption.

Jamie Muray suggests the star system is at work saying "if it was me that wasn't vaccinated I wouldn't be getting an exemption."

"I mean, you know, I think if it was me that wasn't vaccinated I wouldn't be getting an exemption," Jamie Murray told the media after Great Britain's ATP Cup loss to Canada. "You know, but well done to him for getting clear to come to Australia and compete."

Liam Broady, Jamie Murray's British teammate, said without knowing the nature of Djokovic's medical exemption it's tough to judge if it's fair.

"At the end of the day you kind of have to trust that he does has a valid reason for the medical exemption," Broady said. "That's all you can say about it, really, isn't it?"  




Tennis Australia confirmed Djokovic will play on a medical exemption after review by two independent panels.

“Novak Djokovic will compete at the Australian Open and is on his way to Australia," the TA said in a statement. “Djokovic applied for a medical exemption which was granted following a rigorous review process involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.

“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health. They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group of Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines.”

The 34-year-old Serbian's presence makes this AO must-see TV, infuses major star power for a tournament that will be without several champions—Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Dominic Thiem, Bianca Andreescu, Karolina Pliskova among them
and of course creates a potential GOAT collision with Djokovic and rival Rafael Nadal, who is playing this week's Melbourne 250 tournament, playing for history and a men's major record 21st Grand Slam title.

Tennis Express

While the details of Djokovic's medical exemption have not been disclosed, he will be asked about it when he arrives in Melbourne to meet the media.

Australian Open Tournament Director Craig Tiley says Djokovic did not receive special treatment.

“Fair and independent protocols were established for assessing medical exemption applications that will enable us to ensure Australian Open 2022 is safe and enjoyable for everyone,” Tiley said in a statement. “Central to this process was that the decisions were made by independent medical experts and that every applicant was given due consideration.”

 

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