If tennis star Novak Djokovic is having trouble defending his Australian Open title due to controversy over his Australian visa (and apparent anti-vaccination stance), the problem could haunt him as he tries to set a new record for most Grand Slam wins. , especially at the US open.
According to French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu, who told a radio station last week that French health protocols would allow someone like Djokovic to enter the country for a major event, Djokovic could travel to Paris to defend his French Open title, despite not being vaccinated. Thanks to the tournament’s social distancing bubble system, he could compete at Roland Garros in May.
Djokovic’s native Serbia is on a list of countries where the virus is actively circulating and from which France does not allow unvaccinated travelers, but the French government makes a limited number of exceptions, including for high-level professional athletes who participate in major sporting events.
Djokovic is also unlikely to face many challenges at Wimbledon – Travelers to England are not required to be vaccinated against the coronavirus if they test negative for the virus within two days of arrival and then quarantine for 10 days.
It is still unclear whether Wimbledon will require players to be vaccinated (the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes) but last year the participants were not asked to show proof of vaccination, and the tournament has not indicated that it will change its policy.
Djokovic could face his biggest challenge in 2022 when he enters the United States to participate in the US Open – almost all foreign visitors must prove that they are fully vaccinated before boarding a flight to the US
The order only provides for exceptions in “extremely limited” cases for which Djokovic appears to be ineligible, including emergency travelers without access to a vaccine and people who cannot be medically vaccinated.
Even if he were allowed to travel to the US, Djokovic would also be restricted in New York City, home to some of the country’s strictest restrictions on unvaccinated people — according to the city’s vaccine mandate, Djokovic would likely be alone. allowed to play on outdoor courts.
Djokovic must win one of the tournaments to break his tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles at 20. It is still unclear whether he will be allowed to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts next week. A judge on Monday overturned his visa cancellation and allowed him to remain in the country, but the Australian government still has the power to deport him on public health and safety grounds. Inconsistencies in his travel documents are reportedly being investigated by Australian officials.
Novak Djokovic timeline: his positive Covid test, personal events and travel documents ahead of Australian Open (Forbes)
Djokovic admits doing interview while Covid positive, new questions about his test (Forbes)
Djokovic’s travel claims are reportedly under investigation as Australia considers second visa cancellation (Forbes)