Will Novak Djokovic be allowed to compete in tennis’ other Grand Slams in 2022?


Novak Djokovic isn’t going to be able to compete at the 2022 Australian Open. The tennis star, and No. 1 seed at the Aussie Open, lost his appeal with the Australian government on Sunday morning regarding an earlier ruling to cancel his visa.

As a result, Djokovic was forced to leave the country after a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the Australian government. In addition, there’s still a possibility that the Australian government could hand Djokovic a three-year ban from entering the country. It was stated that Djokovic being unvaccinated would be a risk to public health in Australia and “may be counterproductive to efforts at vaccination by other in Australia.”

During a two-week period leading up to the Australian Open, Djokovic had his visa cancelled on different occasions before this latest one stuck. He has previously won the Australian Open nine times and was in search of his 21st career Grand Slam title. The 34-year old is currently tied with Rafael Nadal, who is competing in the 2022 Australian Open, and Roger Federer for the most Grand Slam titles in the history of the sport.

With the Australian Open out of the question, it’s worth taking a look at if Djokovic will face any obstacles when it comes to participating in each of the remaining three Grand Slam tournaments later this year.

French Open

The French Open is the next Grand Slam title on the tennis calendar as the event begins on May 22 and runs through June 5. As of Jan. 17, Djokovic’s chances to play in this tournament seem slim — though there is time for the country’s COVID-19 laws to change by May.

On Sunday, France’s Sports Ministry announced that there will be no exemptions from the country’s new law that requires people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to enter public places. That includes athletes participating in sporting events.

“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 Sports Ministry said. “This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson. And this until further notice.”

The Sports Ministry then specifically used the French Open as an example.

“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 has won the French Open on two different occasions, with the most recent coming in 2021.

Wimbledon

Much like France, England has strict guidelines when it comes to visitors — specifically unvaccinated ones — entering the country. If Djokovic wants to compete at Wimbledon, which begins on June 27 and runs through July 10, he’ll need to take a COVID-19 test two days before he arrives in England. Djokovic will also need to quarantine for 10 days then take a COVID-19 test on the second and eighth days of his quarantine period.

Those specific guidelines for visitors have been set in place by the British government. However, it’s worth noting that the All England Club, which is where Wimbledon is played, could have its own rules and guidelines for the tournament itself.

Djokovic has six Wimbledon titles to his credit and won the Grand Slam tournament in 2021.

US Open

Djokovic will likely face some big obstacles if he aims to participate in the U.S. Open, which begins on Aug. 29. 

In order for visitors to enter the United States, they must be fully vaccinated if they’re not a United States citizen or traveling on an immigrant visa. Now there are exceptions to the rule, but those don’t appear to apply to Djokovic. Most likely, Djokovic would need some type of medical documentation stating why he can’t receive the COVID-19 vaccination. 

Further complicating this is that the tournament takes place in New York. All fans on hand will have to be vaccinated. Djokovic will have to receive COVID-19 tests every three days. From the U.S. Open website:

“The NYC Executive Order specifically exempts non-resident professional athletes (and sports teams) not based in New York City (i.e., not a NYC ‘home team’), from this specific NYC Executive Order requirement.  Additionally, while there is a percentage of players that are vaccinated the USTA is conducting COVID-19 tests for players every 3 days throughout the Tournament.”

Djokovic has won the U.S. Open on three different occasions, but hasn’t won this specific Grand Slam title since 2018.





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