After the Australian Open, Novak Djokovic’s entire season on hold

The Serbian tennis player could be prevented from playing many tournaments if he continues to refuse to be vaccinated. And thus risks losing its place as world number 1.

This may just be the first round of a (very) long fight. This Friday, for lack of being able to present a vaccination certificate against Covid-19, Novak Djokovic saw his Australian visa canceled for the second time. While waiting for the end of this saga which has kept the media around the world in suspense for ten days, the question of the aftermath is already beginning to arise: is the Australian scenario likely to happen again? Will the best tennis player in the world be able to defend his rank in major tournaments around the world while remaining unvaccinated? Will he one day have the opportunity to win a 21st Grand Slam title and thus overtake Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, with whom he shares the victory record so far?

Wimbledon and Roland-Garros, difficult but not impossible

At Roland-Garros, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year after that of Australia, Djokovic’s horizon seems on paper rather clear. Asked about the case of the Serbian player, the French Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu, assured that a sportsman who will not be vaccinated […] will be able to participate in the competition because the protocol, the health bubble of these major sporting events will allow it”.

The future vaccination pass, still under consideration in Parliament and which should be required for “any athlete who trains in France, whether French or foreign, if he is domiciled in our territory”, would therefore not apply to Djokovic and professional athletes, according to the Minister’s explanations.

For Wimbledon, the deal is already getting complicated for the world number 1. The London grass court tournament, which takes place between late June and early July, is not among the sporting events with exemptions. If he wants to participate, Djokovic would therefore not escape quarantine, according to current British health constraints.

In detail, he should isolate himself for ten days upon his arrival in England. Then test yourself a first time within two days before traveling, a second no later than the second day after arrival, and a third no earlier than the eighth day. Any positive test would extend the quarantine by ten days from the date of the positive result.

For the US Open, the mass is said

But unless the rules are relaxed, it is for the US Open that the situation promises to be the most complex for the world number 1. Like Australia, the American authorities are currently refusing any entry into their territory to unvaccinated foreigners. And exemptions to this vaccination obligation are rare.

One is part of it “documented medical contraindication to receiving a vaccine against Covid-19” or even the “participation in certain clinical trials on Covid-19”, according to the US Federal Public Health Agency. But not a recent infection, the reason for exemption on which Novak Djokovic relied to enter Australia. To these restrictions, we must add the health rules specific to the city of New York which prevent, for example, basketball player Kyrie Irving from playing Brooklyn Nets home games because he is not vaccinated. It should be the same for the Serbian tennis player.

The doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert, unvaccinated and who gave up the Australian Open, expects not to be able to participate in the US Open either. “The United States is the whole month of March and a whole summer tour with the US Open. Almost half the season in total, it’s not trivial. The next step is to potentially stop playing tennis., lamented the French player in an interview with the team. Because beyond the US Open, three of the nine Masters 1000 of the ATP calendar are played in the United States (the biggest tournaments apart from those of the Grand Slam), in Indian Wells and Miami in the spring, and Cincinnati in summer. It’s expensive to pay for the shot refused.

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