France says it has no problems letting Djokovic play in French Open


While Australia heads for a courtroom showdown with world No.1 Novak Djokovic, France has rejected any suggestion the world’s No 1 will encounter any diffiulties defending his French Open title later this year.

France does not bar the unvaccinated from entering its territory but imposes tough restrictions on those who have not been jabbed.

Sports minister Roxane Maracineanu said International Tennis Federation protocols at major events meant an unvaccinated player would be entitled to enter France and participate in the year’s second grand slam at Roland Garros, which begins in May.

Australia’s decision to revoke a visa Djokovic had been granted on the basis of a medical exemption ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne has stirred furore, pitting those who say he should never have been offered entry against his supporters.

As the Omicron variant drives a surge in COVID-19 around the world, public frustration has mounted towards unvaccinated people in France and elsewhere.

Popular resentment

President Emmanuel Macron this week said he wanted to “piss off” the unvaccinated by making their lives difficult to spur them into getting the shot.

Macron’s opponents accused him of using language ill-suited to a president and seeking to bolster his credentials ahead of April’s election, although analysts said his words would resonate with many people.

Djokovic, 34, has consistently refused to disclose his vaccination status, while publicly criticising mandatory vaccines. He has not revealed the grounds for the exemption.

“He would not follow the same organisational arrangements as those who are vaccinated,” Maracineanu told FranceInfo radio.

“But he will nonetheless be able to compete (at Roland Garros) because the protocols, the health bubble, allows it.”

-with AAP

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