Novak Djokovic Could Be Barred from 2022 French Open Following New Vaccine Mandate

·3 min read
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Corinne Dubreuil/Abaca/Sipa via AP Images Novak Djokovic

Just days after his visa was revoked and with it, the chance to compete in the 2022 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic now faces the possibility of being barred from the 2022 French Open as well.

On Sunday, France's parliament approved a law requiring COVID vaccines in all public places. French Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu explained that the law also requires all athletes — including those from foreign countries — to be vaccinated to participate in French sporting events.

Maracineanu added on Twitter, "We will work together to preserve the competitions and to be the ambassadors of these measures at the international level."

RELATED: Novak Djokovic's Visa Revoked by Australia's Immigration Minister, Faces Ban from Country for 3 Years

The French Sports Ministry shared that there will be no exemptions for the French Open, which is set to kick off May 22.

"As far as Roland Garros is concerned, it's in May. The situation may change between now and then and we hope it'll be more favorable. So we'll see but clearly there's no exemption," the ministry said, per Reuters.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Sarah Stier/Getty

This comes after Djokovic, 34, received a COVID-19 vaccine medical exemption to play in the Australian Open, but was later forced to leave the country after Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke canceled his visa.

Hawke said in a statement that he was canceling Djokovic's visa "on health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so." He assured that the government is "firmly committed to protecting Australia's borders, particularly in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic."

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If the French vaccine mandate remains in place, Djokovic — who won the 2021 French Open — will once again lose his chance to compete for his 21st Grand Slam title. The Olympian is currently ranked number one in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

A similar situation could also unfold for the Madrid Open in April, as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez applauded Australia's decision to deport Djokovic. Spain currently requires all visitors to provide proof of full vaccination and a negative PCR test.

"The rules are there to comply with and no one is above the rules," Sanchez said, CNN reported.

After Australian officials determined that Djokovic would not be allowed to remain in the country, the tennis star said he was "extremely disappointed," but respected the ruling made on his behalf.

RELATED: Novak Djokovic Entrance Into Australia Reportedly Delayed Following Mix-Up on Visa Application

"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," Djokovic said in a statement, per ESPN. "I respect the Court's ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country."

In a statement of its own, the ATP said, "Today's decision to uphold Novak Djokovic's Australian visa cancellation marks the end of a deeply regrettable series of events."

"Ultimately, decisions of legal authorities regarding matters of public health must be respected. More time is required to take stock of the facts and to take the learnings from this situation," the organization continued."ATP continues to strongly recommend vaccination to all players."

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