Djokovic May Be Allowed to Play in French Open, Despite Vaccine Rules

Under the current COVID-19 guidelines established by the French government, top-ranked player Novak Djokovic might be permitted to defend his French Open title, even if he is still unvaccinated when the clay-court Grand Slam begins in May.

Djokovic was deported from Australia earlier this month and forbidden from competing in the Australian Open because he failed to comply with the country’s rigorous COVID-19 vaccination requirements.

Under a new regulation aimed to keep the unvaccinated out of stadiums, restaurants, clubs, and other public areas, it looked that the Serb tennis star would not be welcomed at Roland Garros either.

As questions about Djokovic’s status in France arose following his deportation from Australia, Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu previously stated that once the law was passed, the country’s vaccine pass would become mandatory for “all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals” to enter stadiums, theaters, or exhibitions.

The vaccine pass, on the other hand, is not limited to immunization.

Anyone who has documentation of a positive test within the past six months is free from needing to present a vaccination pass under the new rule, which went into force on Monday. Djokovic has indicated he tested positive in mid-December, so he could participate in the French Open in May and June, the following Grand Slam tournament.

The French sports ministry did not immediately respond to inquiries about Djokovic from The Associated Press.

The organizers of the French Open have previously stated that it is too early to comment since virus limitations may change between now and May, depending on the viral situation.

Djokovic’s camp did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. Djokovic has previously stated that he would not make any public pronouncements until the Australian Open was over.

The new regulation, which is at the heart of the government’s anti-virus effort, was widely welcomed by cafe owners and clients in Paris.

“It reassures me in the sense that I know the folks I’m with,” Parisian Charles Tuile explained. “We want to be in a safe environment in terms of our health.” It’s very reassuring in many ways to see the waiter checking immunization passes and even ID cards.”

Even while the number of persons in intensive care units has reduced in recent days, France is posting Europe’s highest-ever daily coronavirus infection statistics, and hospitals are continuing to fill up with virus patients.

Despite the rise in the omicron version, the government has imposed few further limitations, focusing instead on the vaccination pass, which was authorized by France’s parliament and Constitutional Council last week.

Critics dispute whether the legislation will make much of a difference in a nation where 94 percent of adults have received at least one vaccine dosage, and protests against the new law were conducted on Saturday. The French government thinks that by doing so, it would safeguard the most vulnerable and relieve strain on overburdened intensive care units, where the majority of patients are unvaccinated.

Since last summer, going to any cafĂ©, museum, or movie theater, as well as taking a regional rail or domestic aircraft, requires a “health pass.” Unvaccinated persons might activate the pass until Monday by having a recent negative test. The new pass is only valid for persons who have been properly vaccinated and have recovered from the infection lately.

“It’s not an issue for me (to display ID card), but I can see how it may go to a downhill spiral – it’s like racial profiling,” Tania Chauvin, 31, said as she ate at a Paris restaurant.

In the meanwhile, France gave 12- to 17-year-olds access to booster injections on Monday.

Djokovic’s Australian nightmare began when two medical committees and the tournament organizer allowed him an exemption from tight vaccination regulations in order for him to compete in the Australian Open, based on paperwork he provided demonstrating he had just received COVID-19. Through an automatic system, he was granted a visa to enter the nation. However, when he arrived, border authorities informed him that the exemption was no longer valid and that he would be deported.

Djokovic’s visa was eventually withdrawn by Australian officials, who claimed that his presence may incite anti-vaccine sentiment and that sending him out was required to keep Australians safe. He was deported the day before the competition in Melbourne began.

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