Novak Djokovic WILL get the chance to defend his French Open title as Covid restrictions are eased at Roland Garros after the unvaccinated 20-time Slam winner was barred from the Australian Open earlier this year
. French Open organisers said they won’t stand in the way of Novak Djokovic defending his title at Roland Garros in May
. Unvaccinated 20-time Slam champion didn’t get to compete at Australian Open
. Lifting of Covid restrictions in France means event should take place as normal
. Organisers said most tickets have already been sold ahead of the tournament
Novak Djokovic will be free to play at the upcoming French Open despite being unvaccinated against Covid-19.
Organisers of the Roland Garros Slam, set to begin on May 22, said the reigning champion will, as it stands, have the opportunity to defend his title.
France lifted Covid restrictions in almost all public spaces – except hospitals, nursing homes and public transport – on Monday, meaning full capacity crowds should be permitted at the French Open.
Tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said: ‘As things stands, nothing stands in the way of Djokovic taking part in the French Open.’
Djokovic, 34, the 20-time Grand Slam champion, missed the Australian Open in January following a drawn-out furore that first saw him admitted to the tournament despite not being vaccinated but then deported after a government intervention.
He is already out of this month’s ATP 1000 tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, unable to enter the United States without a proof of vaccination.
While that is not required to enter France or any sporting event in the country, French tennis federation (FFT) president Gilles Moretton warned that things could change before the tournament starts in May.
‘There’s still a virus circulating and we have to be cautious. If things were to happen again and the government would take new measures we would not be excluded from these measures,’ he explained.
Moretton was optimistic that the Roland Garros stadium would be full after the 2020 and 2021 editions were hit by Covid restrictions
‘We started selling tickets on March 8 and 500,000 of the 600,000 have already been sold,’ Moretton told a news conference on Wednesday.
‘Out of the 150,000 tickets for the night sessions, 100,000 have been sold.’
Djokovic had been the strong favourite to win another Australian Open but his absence allowed Rafael Nadal the chance to win a 21st Slam, moving ahead of him and Roger Federer on 20 apiece.
But Djokovic looks set to have the opportunity to draw level with Nadal again if he wins on clay in Paris.