ZB

The new Novak: Another sporting great locked out of Oz

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Jan 2022, 8:14am
(Photo / Getty Images)
(Photo / Getty Images)

The new Novak: Another sporting great locked out of Oz

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 20 Jan 2022, 8:14am

Surfing legend Kelly Slater won't be able to enter Australia for upcoming events because he refuses to be vaccinated for Covid-19, according to reports. 

The 11-time world champion won't be able to compete in the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach and Margaret River Pro in April unless he gets the safe and effective vaccine. 

Slater first won the event at Bell's Beach in 1994 and three times since, the last being in 2010. 

It comes in the wake of tennis star Novak Djokovic who was denied entry into Australia for the Australian Open due to a visa issue. Australian authorities revoked Djokovic's visa, saying his presence could stir up anti-vaccine sentiment and that kicking him out was necessary to keep Australians safe. Djokovic could be barred from the French Open this year, too, if he's still not vaccinated against Covid-19. 

The Age reports Slater has been warned by Australia's Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck that it will be almost impossible for him to enter Victoria or Western Australia, if he's unvaccinated. 

"I reckon he knows the rules. It doesn't matter whether you're a surfer, or a tennis player, a tourist or anyone else, those are the rules. They apply to everyone," Colbeck told the Age. 

"I don't like the chances of him competing in Victoria, and I'd hate to think of what the chances were of him competing in Western Australia." 

Slater and surfing world No. 1 Gabriel Medina have not confirmed whether they have been vaccinated. Medina had a previous anti-vax stance but looks to have changed after posting on social media "vaccine saves lives, guys!". 

Slater caused controversy for a comment on Instagram last year. 

"If something happens to me, it's on me, not someone else," Slater wrote. "And for people saying listen to the doctors, I'm positive I know more about being healthy than 99 percent of doctors."