Novak Djokovic May Be Prohibited From 2022 French Open After France's New Vaccine Law

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 17, 2022

Novak Djokovic looks as his documents after landing in Belgrade, Serbia, Monday, Jan. 17, 2022. Djokovic arrived in the Serbian capital following his deportation from Australia on Sunday after losing a bid to stay in the country to defend his Australian Open title despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19.(AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
AP Photo/Darko Bandic

Already banned from competing at the 2022 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic may wind up being forced out of the French Open as well if he chooses to not vaccinate himself against COVID-19.

France passed a law, which parliament approved Sunday, requiring proof of vaccination to enter public spaces, and the country's health ministry said there will be no exceptions granted.

"The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be imposed, as soon as the law is promulgated, in establishments that were already subject to the health pass," the ministry said. "This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson. And this until further notice.

"Now, as far as Roland Garros is concerned, it's in May. The situation may change between now and then, and we hope that it will be more favorable. So we'll see, but clearly there's no exemption."

Djokovic was deported from Australia this week after the country canceled his visa because of his vaccination status. The 20-time Grand Slam champion has refused vaccination and made public appearances last month despite testing positive for the virus.

Australian immigration minister Alex Hawke described Djokovic as a "talisman of anti-vaccination sentiment." His deportation has become something of an international incident, with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic harshly criticizing Australia.

"They think they humiliated Djokovic with this, the best player in the world, by the 10-day harassment, they humiliated themselves, and Djokovic can return to his country with his head high up and look everyone in the eye," Vucic said.

Several European countries have adopted strict vaccination laws for COVID-19 as the pandemic rages into its third year. While vaccinated individuals can contract COVID-19, research has shown available vaccines are safe and effective at preventing severe outcomes like death and hospitalization.