Novak Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title later this month after receiving a medical exemption from having a Covid-19 vaccination.

After withdrawing from the ATP Cup, the world number one has finally put a stop to uncertainty over his participation in the first Grand Slam of 2022, which begins on January 17.

Players must be completely vaccinated or have a medical exemption to compete in the Australian Open, according to tournament director Craig Tiley, and Djokovic, whose vaccination status is unknown, has been granted the latter.

The tournament begins in Melbourne on 17 January.

Australian Open 2022 - Novak Djokovic granted exemption to play grand slam
Australian Open 2022 – Novak Djokovic granted exemption to play grand slam

“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!” the nine-time Australian Open winner said on Instagram.

Australian Open organisers confirmed Djokovic’s medical exemption was granted following a “rigorous review process” involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.

Djokovic is a nine-time winner in Melbourne and is out to become the outright men’s Grand Slam record-holder.

Djokovic had entered the ATP Cup but then withdrew at the last minute from the Sydney competition, leaving even his Serbian teammates wondering if Djokovic would be ready to compete in the Australian Open.

He has won the past three Australian Opens and is tied for third all-time with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal with 20 major titles.

Sports Pundits have slammed the fact Djokovic has been given an exemption to enter the country, arguing it completely goes against the restrictions Australians have faced during the pandemic and flies in the face of soaring cases numbers.

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