Craig Tiley: There’s been no special opportunity granted to Novak Djokovic

Australian Open tournament Craig Tiley said no special favors were given to Novak Djokovic and and acknowledged that a number of players had their application for a medical exemption rejected. 

“If they didn’t meet the guidelines, and there were many that didn’t so therefore they were rejected, but if they met the guidelines including for example – which a lot of people forget – is one of those conditions is having COVID recently, in the past six months,” Tiley said on Nine on Wednesday morning.

“Any person who met those conditions has been allowed to come in. There’s been no special favour. There’s been no special opportunity granted to Novak.”

Tiley insists Djokovic met the criteria

“The process has been very clear and we completely understand and empathise with, first of all, some people being upset about the fact that Novak has come in because of his statements over the past couple of years around vaccination,” Tiley said.

“However, it’s ultimately up to him to discuss with the public his condition if he chooses to do that, and the reason why he received an exemption.

“We as an event, also as a state and as a country will do everything we possibly can to give everyone an equal and fair opportunity to come into the country.”

Acting Sports Minister Jaala Pulford said she understands the frustration of some Victorians but insisted Djokovic wasn’t given any special facors.  

“So I want to recognise and acknowledge that this outcome is something that many in the Victorian community find frustrating and upsetting, but I want to make absolutely clear that as has been the case the whole time, no one is or will be receiving special treatment because of who they are or what they have achieved professionally,” Ms Pulford said.

Djokovic will now be aiming to win a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open.