Tennis: No vaccine, no French Open for Djokovic, says Sports ministry

TENNIS |
January 17, 2022 Fans pose in front of an image of Novak Djokovic and display their coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine passports on their phones on the first day of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park REUTERS

Novak Djokovic could be barred from playing in the French Open as things stand now after the Sports Ministry said on Monday there would be no exemption from France's new vaccine pass law.

World number one Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, was deported from Australia on Sunday before the first Grand Slam tournament of the year after losing a court case to have the cancellation of his visa overturned.

France's vaccine pass law, approved by parliament on Sunday, will require people to have a certificate of 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," the ministry said.

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

"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."

Serbian Djokovic, who was barred from bidding to win a record 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, has refused to vaccinate and was criticised for attending public events last month after testing positive for the coronavirus.

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