Pierre-Hugues Herbert reacts to Novak Djokovic’s vaccination exemption

Pierre-Hugues Herbert doubts Novak Djokovic will receive a welcome worthy of a world No. 1 after receiving a medical exemption for the Australian Open. 

On Tuesday, Djokovic announced he was granted a medical exemption and that he would play the Australian Open. 

Herbert believes Djokovic was given a medical exemption for valid reason but added he was pleasantly surprised because he expected the Serb application to be rejected. 

“And I would not like to be in his place when getting off the plane because he will not have, I think, a welcome worthy of a world No. 1. If he was granted a medical exemption, it was for valid reasons. We were waiting for the verdict. Having lived through the rigors of the Australian Open last year, I thought the answer was going to be no. And I am pleasantly surprised,” Herbert told L’Equipe.

Djokovic announced the news on Instagram

“Happy New Year, everybody! Wishing you all health, love, and happiness in every present moment and may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet,” Djokovic said in an Instagram post.

“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!”

After Djokovic announced publicly he was granted a medical exemption, Tennis Australia released a statement confirming the news. 

“One of those was the Independent Medical Exemption Review Panel appointed by the Victorian Department of Health,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.

“They assessed all applications to see if they met the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) guidelines.”

Djokovic is a record nine-time Australian Open champion and he has won the last three tournament editions. 

Djokovic won’t be lacking any motivation at Melbourne Park as winning the Australian Open would give him a record 21st Grand Slam title. 

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