Novak Djokovic set for French Open with vaccination restrictions to be eased | Novak Djokovic

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Novak Djokovic’s efforts to compete at the next grand slam on the tennis calendar will be far less complicated than his failed Australian Open bid after the French government announced it would suspend its vaccination pass this month.

The decision to end current restrictions on 14 March means the Serb will likely be able to defend his French Open title at Roland Garros, beginning on 22 May.

The world No 2, who lost top spot in the ATP rankings last week, was unable to play at the year’s opening grand slam in Melbourne after being deported due to his vaccination status.

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France had held a similar stance to Australia and required all athletes to be vaccinated if they wanted to play in the country, putting Djokovic’s bid for a third French Open title in doubt.

The 34-year-old is not vaccinated and said after his experience in Australia – which included several days in detention – that he would be prepared to sacrifice participation at future tournaments rather than receive a Covid-19 jab.

But the announcement from French prime minister, Jean Castex, appears to have cleared the path for Djokovic to put himself in contention for a record-equalling 21st grand slam title, after Rafael Nadal inched ahead of the Serb with victory in Melbourne.

“The situation is improving thanks to our collective efforts,” Castex said. “The conditions are met for a new phase of easing of measures. From Monday March 14, we will suspend the application of the vaccination pass wherever it applies.”

The easing of restrictions in France could also mean Djokovic, who was replaced by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev as world No 1 earlier this week, plays in next month’s Monte Carlo Masters.

He returned to action for the first time this year at last week’s tournament in Dubai, but will miss this month’s Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami as he is unable to enter the US.

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