Novak Djokovic cops devastating new blow as leaked email emerges

·3-min read
Novak Djokovic, pictured here during a practice session at Melbourne Park before he was deported from Australia.
Novak Djokovic looks on during a practice session at Melbourne Park before he was deported from Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

A leaked email sent from the ATP to players has confirmed the worst news for Novak Djokovic: He won't be able to play the French Open unless he is vaccinated.

France's sports ministry announced new measures on Monday that elite athletes will need to be vaccinated in order to perform in the country.

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The ministry said a new vaccine pass, approved by the French parliament on Sunday: "Applies to everyone, to volunteers and to elite sportspeople, including those coming from abroad, until further notice."

On Thursday, a leaked email from the ATP to players confirmed the news.

Players were sent a message with the subject line: "IMPORTANT: France Vaccination Requirements."

According to Tennis Majors, the email read: "[Players] have been informed by the French Tennis Federation that legislation will soon be passed by the French Government prohibiting non-vaccinated athletes from competing in any sporting event.

“It is currently uncertain whether players who have recently recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed to compete unless they have completed at least one dose of a two-dose vaccine.

"Further clarification from the French Government is required."

However the email revealed that players still might be able to play unvaccinated if they have a valid medical exemption.

"Non-vaccinated players will be unable to compete at tournaments in France," the email continues.

"Players will have to be fully vaccinated to be eligible to compete, OR have a medical certificate that exempts them from vaccination due to medical reasons.

"Please note that no travel or other exemptions will be available.”

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after winning the French Open title in 2021.
Novak Djokovic won the French Open title in 2021. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic set to be barred from French Open

Djokovic was initially granted a medical exemption to play at the Australian Open, however his visa was later cancelled by immigration officials and he was deported.

Major events like the French Open previously permitted unvaccinated athletes to compete, as they operated inside a 'health bubble'.

But if no exemption is possible, the move would destroy Djokovic's hopes of defending his French Open title and potentially winning an unprecedented 21st grand slam singles crown.

Djokovic's hopes of winning a major title in 2022 would then rest on Wimbledon, as New York's vaccination rules (as they currently stand) would also rule him out of the US Open.

France's vaccine pass law will require people to carry vaccination certificates to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and intercity trains.

“To do your job, to come for pleasure or leisure, to practice a sport, it will be necessary to present a vaccine," France's Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu told BFM television on Monday.

"This will be valid for people who live in France but also for foreigners who come to our country for vacation or for a major sports competition."

In regards to Djokovic, the French sports ministry said: "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 favourable.

"So we'll see, but clearly there's no exemption.

"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."

with agencies

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