Novak Djokovic has been granted a medical exemption from being vaccinated against Covid-19, and will defend his title at the Australian Open later this month. Djokovic has won a record nine Australian Open titles, including the past three.

Djokovic announced the news on Tuesday, clearing up speculation over whether he would compete at the event. Djokovic has declined to reveal his vaccination status, and previously said he was not sure if he would compete at the tournament due to quarantine restrictions. Djokovic wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of himself:  “I’ve spent fantastic quality time with my loved ones over the break and today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022.” 

Organizers of the Australian Open confirmed in a statement to media outlets that Djokovic will be allowed to compete in the event, releasing a statement saying: “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 on Immunization guidelines.”  The tournament added: “Defending champion Djokovic will play for an incredible 10th Australian Open trophy — and a men’s record 21st major singles title — and will be the favorite in a draw which showcases 49 of the world’s top 50.”  

The Australian Open tournament will run Jan. 17-30 in Melbourne.

Editorial credit: Leonard Zhukovsky /

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