It is almost a month since the discovery of the latest Coronavirus variant, Omicron. Restrictions have resurfaced in most parts of the world and Australia is no exception. Organizers of the Australian Open tennis tournament have taken a further step and MANDATED PLAYERS to get vaccinated to play in it. They have come up with a list of players who will take part which notably includes Novak Djokovic. Novak is one of the players who have declined to disclose their vaccination status. It has to be noted that being on the list doesn’t mean you will play. One can decline to play voluntarily or can be disqualified. One can also apply for medical exemptions but no religious exemptions were mentioned. No surprising no one has been granted leave of vaccination on doctor’s request. Now, Novak’s outspoken dad Srdjan Djokovic has come out and called what the organizers are doing “blackmail”. He reiterated that it is an individual’s choice to get vaccinated and Novak will likely miss the opening Grand Slam of the season.

As in case of Kyrie Irving, Novak risks isolation if all the other tournaments adopt a similar stance. This will be the most unfortunate thing to have happened as Novak is clearly one of the best players of all time. I may have to agree with Srdjan here in that forcing someone to take the vaccine without considering alternatives can only push a player away. Let me take a religious example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses group. These guys do not take blood transfusions for reasons they say are bible based. Well, some doctors fight with them but some sensible ones come up with solutions such as tranexamic acid and intraoperative cell salvage. Same should be put on the table here. There is news of organic vaccines which can be taken with a combination of an appropriate plant based diet which for me sounds like a viable option.

In the case of religious exemptions, there is a real possibility that some players MAY NOT TAKE PART. I will point out to Ons Jabuer who is Muslim as someone who can possibly miss out. Islam has been ambiguous about its vaccine stance. Consideration for religion is fundamental, even though some liberals don’t get it. Why? By saying your religion DOESN’T MATTER just get vaccinated is the same as like talking smack about a relative or someone you grew up loving. It can only get an angry response out of someone. So Tennis Australia should introduce religious exemptions NOW. One last thing , testing and isolation for 14 days seems to have taken a back burner in favor of vaccination for some reason. Using that makes sense since the Aussie Open is only for two weeks, let the players arrive early in January, take two weeks isolating then train in a bubble.