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

Julien Pretot, Reuters.

Posted at Jan 17 2022 06:22 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2022 06:51 PM

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic walks at Dubai Airport after the Australian Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa to play in the Australian Open, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 17, 2022. Abdel Hadi Ramahi, Reuters.
Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic walks at Dubai Airport after the Australian Federal Court upheld a government decision to cancel his visa to play in the Australian Open, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, January 17, 2022. Abdel Hadi Ramahi, Reuters.

PARIS - 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 favorable. 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 criticized for attending public events last month after testing positive for the coronavirus. 

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond)