Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his French Open title at this year’s tournament regardless of whether or not he is vaccinated against COVID-19, according to reports. The world No 1 is currently watching the Australian Open from home after he was deported from the country on the eve of the competition in Melbourne earlier this month.
Djokovic was detained shortly upon his arrival in Australia earlier this month before he was released and then detained again due to concerns over his medical exemption to enter the country.
He was eventually forced to return to Serbia after a last-gasp appeal was rejected out of hand, leaving him unable to compete at the first Grand Slam of the new year.
The situation raised plenty of questions over whether Djokovic would face a similar fate at the French Open, which is set to get underway in May.
It was suggested that he may be denied entry to France after a recent law change mandating the use of vaccine passports in order to enter public places, and given President Emmanuel Macron’s tough stance on vaccination.
However, it seems as though the 34-year-old will be allowed to play under new rules that have been approved by the nation’s government.
France’s vaccine passport can also be attributed to those who have recovered from Covid in the last six months, according to La Gazetta.
This suggests that Djokovic will experience little difficulty in entering the country after returning a positive test in mid-December.
It is claimed that he will be able to travel to France until at least June if he remains unvaccinated under the new regulations. The French Open is scheduled to begin on May 22nd and end on June 5th.
Djokovic won the top prize at Roland Garros last year, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final after overcoming the challenge of pre-tournament favourite Rafael Nadal in their semi-final meeting.
He is currently tied with Nadal and Roger Federer on 20 Major titles each and has made no secret of his desire to emerge as the sport’s most decorated male player before he decides to retire.
Djokovic’s coach, Marian Vajda, recently insisted that the Serb will eventually make a successful return to the Grand Slam circuit despite being affected by his recent ordeal in Australia and facing the prospect of being banned from more tournaments due to his vaccination status.
“I still don’t understand why they did it to him,” Vajda told Sportklub earlier this week.
“It was an unhealthy and unjust decision, based on the assumption that Djokovic could do or influence something that has not yet happened.
“I haven’t communicated with him since he arrived in Belgrade. It is clear that that it hit him mentally, it will hurt him for a long time.
“it will be difficult to get it out of his head. However, I know him very well, Novak is strong, determined and has not yet said the last word in tennis.
“We wrote to each other, we haven’t spoken over the phone. He used his mobile phone a little.
“I can’t imagine how he handled it, it must have been a huge suffering.”