As Novak Djokovic again faces deportation after the Australian government revoked his visa for the second time Friday, the ATP submitted a release earlier this week, outlining how most of the world's Top 100 men's players have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
After Djokovic's initial court hearing Monday, when a judge overturned the rejection of tennis star's original medical exemption, the ATP released the following statement:
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. This is based on scientific evidence supporting the health benefits provided and to comply with global travel regulations, which we anticipate will become stricter over time. We are encouraged that 97 percent of the Top 100 players are vaccinated leading into this year’s Australian Open.
The "97%" number is noteworthy. Sources tell SI's Jon Wertheim this week the number was previously at just 48% as of Oct. 8, 2021. Players, their support teams and spectators at the Australian Open are required to be vaccinated for the illness caused by the coronavirus. Djokovic is not inoculated and had sought a medical exemption on the grounds that he had COVID-19 in December.
In order for Djokovic to play in the upcoming Australian Open, his lawyers would need to go before a duty judge of the Federal Circuit and Family Court, or a higher judge of the Federal Court, to get two urgent orders. One order would be an injunction preventing his deportation, similar to the one he won in court earlier in the week. The second would force Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to grant Djokovic a visa to play in the tournament.
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