Where is Novak Djokovic now? French Open entry issue after Australian Open farce

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Djokovic faces missing out on Roland-Garros as France approves vaccine pass law

The misfortunes of the World Number One are not yet over as Novak Djokovic looks likely to have similar problems for the French Open as he has had with the Australian Open.

Djokovic had been hoping to participate in the Australian Open which got underway earlier today (Monday 17 January 2022) however was deported from the country just a day before his first expected match due to not providing sufficient reasoning for his unvaccinated status.

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After 12 days of legal battles, Djokovic and his lawyers had finally run out of options and the full bench of the Federal Court sided with Australia’s immigration minister, Alex Hawke, and his decision to cancel the visa.

Not only was the Serbian banned from participating in the event, but he has also received a three year ban from entering Australia.

Djokovic is the most successful tennis player at the Australian Open with 9 titles to his nameDjokovic is the most successful tennis player at the Australian Open with 9 titles to his name
Djokovic is the most successful tennis player at the Australian Open with 9 titles to his name | Getty Images

After leaving Australia on Sunday (16 January) evening, Novak Djokovic landed back in Serbia on Monday (17 January) where he received a hero’s welcome from his countrymen.

To add insult to injury for the current Australian and French Open Champion, France have just voted to give approval to a vaccine pass that will exclude the unvaccinated from restaurants, sports arenas and other venues.

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This law will come into effect shortly and will apply to everybody over the age of 16.

What has happened in France?

The French parliament has just given its final approval to the latest measures set to help tackle COVID-19 which includes a vaccine pass.

While the law did not go through easily, the French lower house eventually voted by 215 to 58 in favour of the new law.

Thousands of anti-vaccine protesters demonstrated in the Capital and in other cities throughout France on Saturday but these numbers were much further down than they had been the week before.

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The DailyMail reported that Stanislas Guerin, representative of the 17th and 18th Arrondissements in Paris spoke after the passing of the law saying:

“Djokovic’s behaviour was irresponsible. Australia is a sovereign country which makes it rules and the rules should be respected.

“We can’t have two weights and two measures regarding the Covid Pass. If you are called Djoko, Nadal or Mr Whoever, you respect the rules.

“All the big events which will take place in France will adopt the Covid Pass. Who would understand if we asked our citizens to make an effort and respect the rules and we then authorised some to get out of them?”

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What does this mean for Novak Djokovic?

If the 34-year-old remains unvaccinated, it is highly unlikely that he will be able to compete at Roland-Garros in May.

It is highly likely that a similar situation will occur in France as it has done in Australia with regards to his eligibility to play at the Open and with Macron seeking another term in April, if he were to be re-elected it would be unimaginable that he would go back on this law.

Djokovic won the French Open in 2016 and 2021Djokovic won the French Open in 2016 and 2021
Djokovic won the French Open in 2016 and 2021 | POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Djokovic won the 2021 French Open and has also previously won the event in 2016. After Australia, the French Open would have been the next opportunity for Djokovic to win his 21st Grand Slam and become the most successful male tennis player in history.

What has been said regarding Djokovic’s deportation?

Novak Djokovic broke his recent silence on Sunday 16 January when he spoke to reporters saying: “I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister’s decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open.

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“I respect the Court’s ruling and I will cooperate with the relevant authorities in relation to my departure from the country.”

The ATP then followed by sending out a statement in regards to the decision.

“Today’s decision to uphold Novak Djokovic’s Australian visa cancellation marks the end of a deeply regrettable series of events.

Nadal, left, has said Djokovic would be missed at the Open, while previously saying he could be playing ‘without a problem'Nadal, left, has said Djokovic would be missed at the Open, while previously saying he could be playing ‘without a problem'
Nadal, left, has said Djokovic would be missed at the Open, while previously saying he could be playing ‘without a problem' | Getty Images

“Irrespective of how this point has been reached, Novak is one of our sport’s greatest champions and his absence from the Australian Open is a loss for the game.”

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The ATP also added in their statement that they “strongly recommend vaccination to all players.”

20 time Grand Slam winner, Rafael Nadal, responded to the press by saying: “The ideal situation in the world of sport (is) that the best players are on court and playing the most important events, without a doubt.

“If Novak is playing here, it’s better for everybody, no doubt about that.”

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