Novak Djokovic‘s troubles with COVID-19 vaccines may not be limited to the ongoing Australian Open. The French government said that all athletes participating in the country’s sporting events will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The vaccine struggle has extended from the Australian Open, where Djokovic was not allowed to compete after a week-long legal saga. The famed Tennis player was deported back to Serbia for failing to provide proof of vaccination.
Roxana Maracineanu, France’s Sports Minister, wrote said that athletes would not be exempted from the country’s COVID-19 pass rules, which will be instated for those over the age of 16.
Maracineanu said, “The vaccination pass has been adopted. As soon as the law is promulgated, 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”, according to reports from The Guardian.
The announcement was a reversal in France’s stance on the matter, which earlier floated the possibility of exempting athletes from the COVID vaccination requirement. This was being planned through a “bubble system”, which would limit contact with those outside it.
“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 ministry said in a statement, according to media reports.
“Now, as far as Roland Garros (French Open) 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 will see, but clearly, there is no exemption.”
Djokovic, who was not able to register a record 21st Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open, may not be able to participate in Roland Garros. The French Open is scheduled to begin on May 22, 2022 and end on June 5.