Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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Tennis

Novak Djokovic’s French Open Participation Under Threat Due To COVID Restrictions

The newly passed law in France would require people to have a certificate of COVID vaccination to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and long-distance trains.

Novak Djokovic lands in Belgrade, Serbia on Jan. 17, 2022 following his deportation from Australia.
Novak Djokovic lands in Belgrade, Serbia on Jan. 17, 2022 following his deportation from Australia. AP

Novak Djokovic faces a distinct possibility of missing back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments. The tennis great, who was deported from Australia following a failed bid to compete in the season-opening Grand Slam, was greeted with the news of a possible French Open ban when he landed in Belgrade on Monday. (More Tennis News)

The 34-year-old Serbian, bidding to become the most decorated tennis player, lost a court battle in Melbourne hours before the start of the Australian Open 2022. The nine-time champion was supposed to start his title defence Monday night. But now, he is surely grappling with the prospects of missing the Roland Garros too.

The French Sports Ministry has made it clear that there would be “no exemption” for the new vaccine pass law for everyone in the nation, including a spectator or a professional sportsperson.

Notably, the newly passed law in France would require people to have a certificate of COVID vaccination to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and long-distance trains.

"The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be imposed, as soon as the law is promulgated, in establishments that were already subject to the health pass," French Sports Ministry said as quoted by Reuters.

"This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson. And this until further notice,” it added.

Though the ministry hinted that the restrictions may be eased for people if the situation gets better, the new variant of COVID-19 doesn’t seem to settle down in sooner time. This might see Djokovic, who is not vaccinated and is against the idea of it, landing himself in trouble if he decides against changing his stance for vaccination.

"Now, as far as Roland Garros is concerned, it's in May. The situation may change between now and then and we hope that it will be more favourable. So we'll see, but clearly there's no exemption," the Sports Ministry said.

Djokovic has 20 Gram Slam titles to his name, equaling Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but his absence in the Australian Open 2022 gives the Spaniard a clear chance to lead the race. Moreover, in case, Djokovic fails to make it to the French Open 2022, the competition further will become further tougher for him if Nadal makes most out of the opportunity

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