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Officials say Djokovic could miss French Open over unvaccinated status

Associated Press/Mark Baker

Tennis star Novak Djokovic could miss another Grand Slam event this year after French authorities on Monday said that he will not be granted an exemption from the country’s new vaccine pass law.

France’s new laws require people to have proof of vaccination to enter public places such as sports venues, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and travel via public transport.

The news comes just a day after the top-ranked tennis player was forced to leave Australia after losing his deportation appeal in court.

Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, was dealt another blow after the French Sports Ministry said Monday that the new vaccination laws will apply to everyone, Reuters reported. 

“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, according to the newswire.

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

However, things might change for the 34-year-old later in the year. The ministry added that French Open does not begin until the end of May and the “situation may change between now and then” and said “we hope that it will be more favorable.”

“So we’ll see, but clearly there’s no exemption,” the ministry said. 

Gilles Moretton, the president of the French Tennis Federation, told l’Equipe that they were working with the public authorities, who “will specify in due course the rules relating to the reception of unvaccinated foreign athletes for our tournament.”

Djokovic, who would have been chasing a record 21st Grand Slam win, left Australia on Sunday after a panel of three judges ruled that the decision by Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke to cancel his visa could stand. 

The Serbian has refused to get vaccinated and was criticized for attending public events last month after testing positive for the coronavirus.

Tags australian open Coronavirus COVID-19 French Open Sports and Politics Tennis

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