New Djokovic blow as France de...


New Djokovic blow as France decrees visiting athletes must be vaccinated

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Novak Djokovic faces being barred from defending his French Open title later this year. 

Any athlete visiting France must be vaccinated against COVID-19, starting with next month's Six Nations.

Djokovic was deported from Australia at the weekend, after having his visa cancelled by the country's immigration minister, Alex Hawke.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner is unvaccinated, with his intransigence now set to further delay his potential winning of another Slam.

The adoption of a vaccine pass contradicts an earlier pronouncement from French Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu. As recently as last week, she suggested that major events like the French Open would not see the vaccine pass apply.

Minister for National Education and Sports, Jean-Michel Blanquer said, "It is important that it is a clear message that is given to everyone, athletes included, on the importance of getting vaccinated.

"There is no reason to make exceptions for this or that reason. It is a clear and precise message."

Maracineanu tweeted on Monday, "The vaccination pass has been adopted.

"As soon as the law is formalised, it will become mandatory to enter public buildings already subject to the health pass (stadium, theatre or lounge) for all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals.

She added, "We will work together to preserve the competitions and to be the ambassadors of these measures at the international level."

Djokovic won last year's French Open, beating Matteo Berretini and Rafa Nadal en route to a five-set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

This year's French Open is due to get underway on May 22.

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Coronavirus Covid-19 France French Open Novak Djokovic Roland Garros Roxana Maracineanu Vaccine

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