Vaccine rules Russian out of Australian Open bid

SYDNEY: Russian Nata Vikhlyantseva has revealed that she will be unable to travel to Australia and attempt to play in the first Grand Slam of next season because her COVID-19 vaccine is not recognised by local health authorities.

All players need to have a double dose of an approved vaccine, or a medical exemption, to participate at the Australian Open, which takes place from January 17-30.

The Russian Sputnik V is not on the list of vaccines currently approved by the Australian government, leaving former world number 54 Vikhlyantseva ineligible to play at Melbourne Park.

“Unfortunately, I will not participate in this year (Australian Open),” the 24-year-old said in a post on Twitter.

“I’m really happy with a level of tennis I showed on a last few events and I wish to play in (Australia) but Sputnik is not verified yet.”

Currently ranked 194th in the world, Vikhlyantseva would have had to get through qualifying at Melbourne Park or be awarded a wildcard to make it into the main singles draw.

Last year, Vikhlyantseva lost to compatriot Valeria Savinykh in the first round of Australian Open qualifying, which was moved to Dubai because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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