Pakula warns of "very different" rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players at Australian Open
Victorian Sports Minister Martin Pakula is “very confident” that the 2022 Australian Open will go ahead as planned, but warns there will be “different” rules for vaccinated and unvaccinated players.
The announcement comes after three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray urged other tennis players to get the jab if they want to experience some freedoms in Australia.
The topic is a major talking point on tour, with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas firm in their views that it should be a choice, although the latter will roll his sleeve up if vaccination is made mandatory.
There is plenty of water to go under the bridge before the Open arrives, but Pakula says players getting vaccinated before entering Australia is a wise option.
“Let me be really clear, I’m with Andy (Murray),” Pakula told SEN's Whateley.
“Whether or not it’s as strict as you won’t get into Australia if you’re not vaccinated, that I don’t know.
“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.
“So, 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.”
The Minister for Sport was unable to definitively say whether the tournament will go ahead or not but is very confident that it will take place as scheduled.
It’s hard to be certain about anything right now but I’m very confident that the Australian Open will go ahead,” 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 percent of the community vaxxed.
“So I’m very confident the Australian Open will go ahead and it’s very important that it does.”