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Unvaccinated Djokovic can compete at Italian Open, says sports minister

Tennis
Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during his match against Gael Monfils of France during day 4 of the ATP Cup tennis tournament at Pat Rafter Arena in Brisbane Reuters

Italian Sports Minister Valentina Vezzali has said world number one Novak Djokovic would be allowed to participate in the Italian Open as outdoor events do not require a person to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic said on Tuesday he was prepared to miss Grand Slams such as the French Open and Wimbledon rather than have a COVID-19 jab after he was deported shortly before the Australian Open due to his unvaccinated status.

“It is an outdoor sport and the tighter green pass is not required,” Vezzali told Italian newspaper Libero on Thursday.

“So if Djokovic wants to come to Italy to play, he will be able to do so. Maybe without visiting hotels and restaurants.”

Earlier this month, Italy’s government lifted an obligation to wear masks outdoors under most circumstances in response to an improving coronavirus situation.

The Italian Open is set to take place in Rome from May 2-15. Australian Open champion Rafa Nadal beat Djokovic in last year’s final in Rome.