Russian player barred from playing Australian Open

Russian player Natalia Vikhlyantseva will not be allowed to compete at the Australian Open

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Russian player Natalia Vikhlyantseva will not be allowed to compete at Australian Open

Russian player Natalia Vikhlyantseva will not be allowed to compete at the Australian Open despite being inoculated.

Vikhlyantseva, who reached a career high of 54, has taken the Sputnik V vaccine, which is not on the Australian government’s approved list.

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“Unfortunately, I will not participate in this year AO event,” Vikhlyantseva, a former World No.54, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.

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

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“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!”

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The 24-year-old from Russia was supposed to play the Australian Open qualifying event, which begins on January 10.

The Australian government has a very strict vaccine policy. Players, organisers and spectators will have to be fully vaccinated to attend the Australian Open.

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The Grand Slam’s tournament director, Craig Tiley, however had informed that a small percentage may be given an exemption on medical grounds, once it has undergone a thorough review.

It is the first time that tennis players are facing a vaccination mandate.

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World No 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic has not revealed his vaccination status yet and remains in doubt for the Melbourne major.

“If Novak shows up at the Australian Open, he’ll either be vaccinated or he’ll have a medical exemption,” Tiley was quoted as saying by The Age.

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“[It’s] his choice on his medical condition, it’s his choice to keep personal and private like all of us would do with any condition we may or may not have.

“We are not going to force him or ask him to disclose that.”

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