Djokovic is the current French Open champion, and his absence from the tournament would preclude him from retaining his title.
Following his expulsion from Australia, Novak Djokovic may have difficulty competing in the French Open as per a report in UNILAD. Despite maintaining that he had been granted a specific exemption from the country’s vaccination restrictions by Tennis Australia, the unvaccinated tennis player was thrown in immigration detention and lost his bid for a visa. Following the ruling and deportation, Djokovic flew back to Serbia via Dubai to rest and heal. However, a stumbling block has emerged that may jeopardise Djokovic’s hopes of appearing in the French Open.
Roxana Maracineanu, the French sports minister, had initially supported the idea of bubbles for unvaccinated athletes like Djokovich, but after stricter vaccination measures were passed in the French parliament on Sunday, January 16, she changed her mind and now believes that all athletes should be vaccinated. Djokovic is the current French Open champion, and his absence from the tournament would preclude him from retaining his title.
However, with the president of the French Tennis Federation, Gilles Moretton, speaking out against the matter, things could alter again before the summer. Deportation from the country normally results in an automatic three-year ban from the region, thus Djokovic’s future participation in the Australian Open could be jeopardised. While this could be waived in the future, it casts question on Djokovic’s ability to compete without being vaccinated.
Currently, it does not appear that the United Kingdom will follow France and Australia in enacting tighter vaccine requirements for athletes. This means Djokovic will most likely be able to compete at Wimbledon in 2022. Many people have spoken out against his deportation, including fellow Serbian tennis star Lslo Djere, who described the situation as catastrophic.
“I will now be taking some time to rest and to recuperate, before making any further comments beyond this,” Djokovic said in a statement. “I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open. I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.”