Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic allowed to play French Open
The Serb is a two-time champion at Roland-Garros
Novak Djokovic is free to defend his French Open title at this year’s tournament “as things stand,” organizers of the Paris clay court showpiece have confirmed.
Djokovic was prevented from taking part in the first Grand Slam of the year in Australia in January when he was deported in a row over his Covid vaccine status.
The Serbian star, 34, recently vowed that he was prepared to miss tournaments and potential titles rather than reverse his stance on not getting jabbed against Covid-19.
That position has forced Djokovic to miss two ATP Masters 1000 events in the US this month, where entry is barred for anyone who is unvaccinated.
Uncertainty had surrounded the second Grand Slam of the year in Paris, particularly when the country approved vaccine passport plans in January, although the rules have since softened and this week France lifted most Covid restrictions.
Speaking on Wednesday, French Open director Amelie Mauresmo confirmed that there were currently no impediments to Djokovic taking part at the tournament, which starts on May 22.
“As things stand, nothing stands in the way of Djokovic taking part in the French Open,” Mauresmo said.
That positive news for Djokovic was tempered slightly by a warning from French Tennis Federation (FFT) chief Gilles Moretton that the situation could yet change before play gets underway on the famous clay courts of the capital.
“There’s still a virus circulating and we have to be cautious. If things were to happen again and the government would take new measures we would not be excluded from these measures,” said Moretton.
Nonetheless, officials are optimistic that a full house of fans will be allowed into Roland-Garros after two years of the event being disrupted by the pandemic.
“We started selling tickets on March 8 and 500,000 of the 600,000 have already been sold,” said Moretton.
“Out of the 150,000 tickets for the night sessions, 100,000 have been sold.”
After seeing Rafael Nadal surpass him in the all-time Grand Slam stakes in Australia, where the Spaniard won his 21st major, Djokovic will be looking to level the score and recapture the crown he won in Paris last year.
Djokovic recently lost his status as world number one after Russia’s Daniil Medvedev ended the Serbian star’s 361-week reign at the pinnacle of the ATP rankings.
Medvedev’s shock defeat to Gael Monfils in the third round at the Indian Wells Masters this week means that Djokovic will return to the top spot when the rankings are updated next week, although if the Russian reaches the semifinals of the Miami Open later in March, he will oust Djokovic once more.
Djokovic is set to return to competitive action at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in mid-April as he kicks off his clay-court season.
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