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Novak Djokovic: What big events could unvaccinated world No1 be forced to miss this season?

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  • Novak Djokovic
    Novak Djokovic
    Serbian tennis player

Novak Djokovic has been deemed eligible, for now, to stay in Australia and hence defend his Australian Open title.

Having come out of detention, though, he faces further setbacks for the rest of the season in his quest to remain the dominant force in the game if he opts against getting vaccinated against Covid-19.

We take a look at some of the big events for the rest of 2022 and how it might affect the world No1.

Indian Wells (March 10-20)

The event is seen as the ATP Tour’s de facto fifth major, such is the calibre of the field and the points on offer.

Organisers have stipulated a policy requiring “all attendees to show valid proof of full vaccination against Covid-19” and specifying that “no exceptions to the vaccination policy will be allowed”.

Italian Open (May 9-15)

Djokovic used the event, also known as the Rome Masters, to fine-tune his preparations for the subsequent French Open on the same clay surface last year, and ended up losing to Rafael Nadal in the final.

With his current vaccine status, he would not be eligible to compete following a newly-revised green pass in Italy whereby only vaccination or recovery would make people eligible to go to the likes of sports events, concerts, indoor restaurants and the like. A negative test is no longer deemed sufficient.

French Open (May 22-June 5)

It was previously stated that Djokovic was out of the French Open without a vaccine but French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu has since stipulated that he would be able to play at Roland Garros.

She said that, under current guidelines, he would be able to compete “because the protocols, the health bubble, allows it”.

However, that might not be plain sailing with French president Emmanuel Macron making life increasingly hard for those who have opted against being vaccinated.

Wimbledon (June 27-July 10)

Djokovic would be permitted to play at Wimbledon but that does come with some travel restrictions for the unvaccinated.

As things stand now, that would equate to taking tests on days two and eight as well as seeing out a 10-day quarantine period. Wimbledon and Government officials have not yet said whether some sort of bio-secure bubble could potentially be created.

US Open (August 29-September 11)

Somewhat bizarrely, his participation might prove somewhat weather dependent. New York officials have stipulated that sportsmen and women competing in indoor events have to be vaccinated.

That means Djokovic could play as long as the weather doesn’t turn in any of his matches and the roof has to be deployed.

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