Officials at the Australian Open decided to allow unvaccinated players to participate in the next tournament after only four days, according to the national Herald Sun.
In late June, tennis authorities came under scrutiny after reports that Australian Open organizers were allowing some unvaccinated players to compete against competitors with full vaccination records at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.
On Wednesday, the Australian Open released a statement saying it was “the right decision for the players and also from a health perspective.” It added that the reports about the Cincinnati Open “are based on a limited number of matches and where well-established rules were adhered to.”
In Cincinnati, players who missed their required vaccinations were required to have them re-licensed by their doctors before playing in the event.
The tournament in Melbourne has different rules for unvaccinated players, according to Yahoo Sports. Players who miss their vaccination appointments are asked to get a certificate from a local physician verifying that they missed their last shot by the standard 24-hour period.
“We maintain a level playing field for all players, irrespective of a player’s vaccination status,” tournament director Craig Tiley told the Herald Sun. “There is a rigorous medical program at every tournament for all players.
“Ultimately the opinion of the medical team and tournament referee is paramount and consistent with our standard protocols. At the start of the year we are extremely clear that our main focus is on keeping the sport safe and successful.”
Now, according to the newspaper, players are allowed to play in the Australian Open until Aug. 18.