Novak Djokovic cops brutal new blow amid vaccination dramas

Novak Djokovic, pictured here with wife Jelena in Monte Carlo in 2019.
Novak Djokovic with wife Jelena in Monte Carlo in 2019. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic might live in Monte Carlo, but the tournament director of the Monte Carlo Masters has ruled out the possibility of the World No.1 playing unless he is fully vaccinated.

The saga surrounding Djokovic's vaccination status looks set to continue for months after the Serbian star's deportation from Australia.

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Djokovic was initially allowed entry into Australia for the season-opening grand slam, before having his visa cancelled due to his anti-vaccination stance.

The 34-year-old is due to make his return at the Dubai Tennis Championships later this month, with unvaccinated players allowed entry into the event in the UAE.

However Djokovic will be severely hampered in the events he will be allowed to play for the remainder of the year if he continues to refuse the Covid-19 jab.

On Friday, the tournament director for the prestigious Monte Carlo Masters - an ATP 1000 event - said Djokovic won't be allowed to play unless he is vaccinated.

“If he meets the health requirements of the French government, we will be happy to host him,” Zeljko Franulovic said.

“He has to be in order. For the moment, as far as I know, he is not vaccinated.

"As soon as he is in good health with respect to government regulations, we will welcome him with open arms. To come into France, the first rule is to be vaccinated."

Djokovic has won the Monte Carlo Masters twice before - in 2013 and 2015.

This year's event will be held from April 9-17 before the French Open in May.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here after his loss to Dan Evans at the Monte Carlo Masters in 2021.
Novak Djokovic leaves the court after his loss to Dan Evans at the Monte Carlo Masters in 2021. (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic on entry list for vaccinated event

In a staggering twist this week, tournament organisers for the Indian Wells event said Djokovic is on the entry list for next month's tournament in California.

Tournament organisers said in a statement that valid proof of full vaccination would be required for entry into the venue for the March 9-20 event.

"The guidelines for the players are governed by the protocols established by ... the WTA and ATP, as well as any restrictions established by the United States of America in regard to the vaccination status of international travellers entering the country," organisers added.

If still unvaccinated, Djokovic could have trouble even getting into the United States.

Foreign air travellers have had to be fully vaccinated since November last year and provide proof before boarding flights, with limited exceptions.

But the fact that the World No.1 is entered to play Indian Wells has led some to believe that he may have had a change of heart on being vaccinated.

Djokovic's biographer Daniel Muksch recently said he had heard from the Serb's inner circle that he would likely get vaccinated and may be motivated to do so by seeing Rafael Nadal go past him and win a 21st grand slam title at the Australian Open.

"Maybe the final in Melbourne also contributed to that," Muksch reportedly told Serbian TV.

"Rafael Nadal's 21 is driving him, no question. What you hear from his camp, I think he's getting vaccinated."

Djokovic has won Indian Wells five times and was part of a stacked field announced on Wednesday, which includes Nadal and top 10 players Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

with AAP

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