Natalia Vikhyantseva is vaccinated with the Sputnik V Vaccine, which is not approved by Australia
World No.194 Natalia Vikhlyantseva has announced that she will not be participating at the 2022 Australian Open despite being fully vaccinated. This is because the Russian had opted to take the Sputnik V vaccine. It is not verified by the authorities in Australia, and therefore makes Vikhlyantseva ineligible to compete at the tournament.
Vikhlyantseva took to Twitter on Monday to announce the news. She stated that she was looking forward to playing in Australia but unfortunately will have to skip it.
“Unfortunately, I will not participate in this year AO event. 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. Good luck for all participants and AO team, who always made amazing events!” she wrote.
The former World No. 54 was not part of the Australian Open’s entry list, but was expected to play in the qualifiers. She did the same at the 2021 Australian Open, losing to Valeria Savinykh in the first qualifier.
The 24-year-old’s best Grand Slam results have also come at the Australian Open, where she made it to the second round in 2017 and 2019.
Natalia Vikhlyantseva has become the first recognized player to skip the tournament citing the unapproved status of Sputnik V. This has, hence, called into question the participation of other Russian athletes as well.
Further questions have also arisen regarding players from other countries like Argentina, where Sputnik V is one of the major approved vaccines. The announcement also led to tennis fans rallying to Vikhlyantseva’s support, blaming the Australian government for unfairly preventing her from playing.
What are the vaccines that will permit athletes to play at the 2022 Australian Open?
So far there are eight vaccines that will alow athletes to compete at the Australian Open
As of today, there are eight vaccines on the list approved by the Australian government. Players fully vaccinated with any of them will be allowed to compete at the 2022 Australian Open.
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – branded as Covishield in India and Vaxzevria in the European UnionPfizer-BioNTech’s ComirnatyModerna’s SpikevaxSinovac Biotech’s CoronaVacBharat Biotech’s CovaxinSinopharm’s BIBP VaccineJohnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine.
Sputnik V is also not ratified by the World Health Organization, since Russia has not yet provided the complete documentation to verify its efficacy.
However, WHO has stated that it expects to receive the proper reports by the end of this year from Russia. This would pave the way to begin widespread approval from other countries as well.