Russian tennis player to skip Australian Open over Sputnik vaccine

For our free coronavirus pandemic coverage, learn more here.

A Russian tennis player has confirmed a trip Down Under this summer is off the cards due to their COVID-19 vaccination, Sputnik V, not being recognised by Australian authorities.

Natalia Vikhlyantseva, a former world No.54, won’t participate in Australian Open qualifying or any of the other various tour events in Australia.

Full vaccination will be compulsory for all attendees at Melbourne Park next month – players, staff and spectators.

Natalia Vikhlyantseva won’t be competing in the Australian Open.Credit:Getty Images

The opening major of 2022 – and lead-up events in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne – will be the first time tennis stars face mandatory vaccination.

Vikhlyantseva, 24, said on Twitter: “Unfortunately, I will not participate in this year AO event. I’m really happy with a level of tennis I showed on a last few events and I wish to play in but Sputnik is not verified yet. Good luck for all participants and AO team, who always made amazing events!”

Currently, the vaccines approved by the TGA for use in Australia are Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen.

But the vaccines approved for the purposes of travel to Australia are Sinovac, AstraZeneca (Serum Institute of India), Sinopharm China and Bharat Biotech.

Tennis Australia expects at least 95 per cent of tennis professionals will be fully vaccinated in time for the start of the Australian summer.

The men’s ATP Cup teams event begins in Sydney on 1 January.

The status of various players will become clearer on December 28, the next deadline for players to commit to the Australian Open.

There are fresh doubts about Rafael Nadal’s participation after the 20-times major winner tested positive to COVID-19.

The Spaniard had returned home Spain after making his comeback from injury in an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

Nadal revealed his diagnosis in a statement on Monday.

“I am having some unpleasant moments but am counting on feeling better bit by bit,” he said in a Twitter post.

“As a consequence of the situation, I have to maintain total flexibility with my schedule, and I will analyse my options depending on how my situation evolves.”

Separately, Tennis Australia last week moved to distance itself from any attempts by players to seek medical exemptions from vaccination, stressing those decisions were made by health authorities.

Later, however, TA confirmed a review process had been established with Victorian health authorities.

TA said the process would involve a three-person medical panel, made up of experts from immunology, infectious diseases and general practice, assessing medical data of an applicant. The identity of the applicant will remain anonymous in the process.

The Victorian government expressed confidence in the rigour of the system.

Sports news, results and expert commentary. Sign up for our Sport newsletter.

Most Viewed in Sport

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article