Djokovic could possibly be barred from French Open for refusing COVID vaccine, too

Novak Djokovic could possibly be barred from the French Open later this yr as a result of he is not vaccinated towards COVID-19, a risk that raised the stakes for the tennis star simply hours after he was deported from Australia and prevented from defending his Australian Open title.
A aircraft carrying the No. 1-ranked participant touched down in his native Serbia on Monday, closing a minimum of the primary chapter in a dizzying drama that has resonance on the planet of elite sports activities, Australian pandemic politics, and the polarized debate over the coronavirus photographs.
Djokovic was anticipated to obtain a hero’s welcome from his countrymen, lots of whom assume he was unfairly handled in Australia. However solely handful of followers waving the Serbian flag greeted him on the airport within the capital, Belgrade.

APTOPIX Serbia Australian Open Djokovic
Novak Djokovic appears as his paperwork after touchdown in Belgrade, Serbia, January 17, 2022, following his deportation from Australia

Darko Bandic/AP

On the similar time, clouds gathered over what would come subsequent for the participant: French officers stated a brand new regulation requiring vaccination to enter sports activities venues would don’t have any exceptions. A lot might change between now and the beginning of the French Open, which is the subsequent Grand Slam, in late Might. However that raised the chance that the current saga in Australia can be not only a blip however an ongoing problem for the unvaccinated athlete, who’s more and more being held up as a hero by the anti-vaccine motion.
Djokovic had argued that he was exempt from strict Australian vaccination guidelines as a result of he had lately recovered from COVID-19. However as soon as he arrived within the nation, Australian authorities stated the exemption wasn’t legitimate. They finally cited the general public curiosity and revoked his visa, saying his presence might fire up anti-vaccine sentiment and that kicking him out was essential to hold Australians secure.
As Djokovic flew house from Australia, member of the French Parliament Christophe Castaner stated the brand new regulation will exclude unvaccinated folks from sports activities venues, eating places and different public locations and can apply to anybody who needs to play within the French Open — a reversal of plans to create a “bubble” across the match.
France’s sports activities ministry stated Monday that after the brand new regulation is in place, there might be no exceptions till additional discover.

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