Australia says no special treatment for Djokovic

After the world's top tennis player Novak Djokovic was given a vaccine exemption to play at the Australian Open, the country's authorities pushed back Wednesday to say he did not receive special treatment.

The decision set off outrage in Australia, which has experienced multiple lockdowns over the last two years.

Cases have soared again in the country thanks to the Omicron variant.

But officials say Djokovic is not the only one and that a "handful" of the 26 applicants who sought exemptions were successful.

Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley said he wasn't in a position to legally state the reason for Djokovic's particular case, but illustrated some grounds for an exemption:

"To briefly quickly summarise those, one is obviously is having an adverse response to any kind of vaccine, something like an anaphylactic response. Another one is if you've just had major surgery and may or may not be suffering from myocarditis and another one, you are a recovered case. In other words you've had evidence of COVID, certified evidence of COVID over the past 6 months."

Tennis Australia said the two-stage application process to grant an exemption was confidential and run by independent experts.

More than 90% of those 16 years and up in Australia have had a second vaccine.

Melbourne - where the grand slam takes place - had the world's longest cumulative lockdown to try and slow the pandemic.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting