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Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates against Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the men's singles final during day 14 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Feb. 21. Photo: TPN/Getty Images

The Australian Open will require tennis players to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus for the tournament in January, tournament director Craig Tiley confirmed in an interview, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The requirement concludes months of "mixed messages from Australian government officials" on whether or not to implement a vaccine mandate, the Times writes.

  • The announcement also comes as Novak Djokovic, the No. 1-ranked men's tennis player, declines to disclose whether he is vaccinated. The nine-time Australian Open champion had said he would wait for the tournament's policy before making a decision on whether to participate, per the NYT.
  • Tiley said around 80% of the player cohort were vaccinated and would play in front of capacity crowds, per Reuters.

Flashback: Melbourne, where the tournament takes place, has been considered the "world's most locked-down city" with some of the strictest COVID-19 measures in the world.

Of note: The Australian Open is the first Grand Slam tournament to implement a COVID-19 vaccination requirement.

What they're saying: “All the staff working the Australian Open will need to be vaccinated, but when we’re in a state where there’s more than 90 percent of the population fully vaccinated — they’ve done a magnificent job with that — it’s the right thing to do," Tiley said, per NYT.

  • “(Novak) has said that he views this as a private matter for him," Tiley said, per Reuters. "We would love to see Novak here, he knows that he’ll have to be vaccinated to play here.”

Go deeper

Dec 6, 2021 - Health

CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge

Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised COVID-19 travel advisories to their highest levels for a number of countries on Monday, including France and Portugal.

Why it matters: The detection of the new Omicron variant last month has spurred fears of a new wave of virus infections.

Dec 6, 2021 - Health

Cruise ship COVID outbreak: Louisiana officials find "probable" Omicron case

The Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship. Photo: Gerard Bottino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Louisiana health authorities said a suspected Omicron case was one of 17 confirmed COVID-19 infections among the passengers and crew of a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship that returned to New Orleans Sunday.

Driving the news: The Norwegian Breakaway departed New Orleans on Nov. 28 with more than 3,200 people on board, before making stops in Belize, Honduras and Mexico, according to a Louisiana Department of Health statement.

Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries

New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul COVID-19 addresses rising cases in the state and the new variant Omicron at a press conference in November. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced on Monday that some state hospitals will be ordered to halt certain elective surgeries in an effort to combat a recent COVID-19 surge, Hochul said at a press conference.

Why it matters: New York has struggled with hospital capacity throughout the pandemic and postponed nonessential procedures before.