without a vaccine, Djokovic faces an obstacle course for the Majors

without a vaccine Djokovic faces an obstacle course for the

Novak Djokovic, whose Australian visa was canceled for the second time on Friday, risks seeing his quest for a record Grand Slam title turn into an obstacle course if he persists in refusing a Covid-19 vaccine .

After the Australian Open – his favorite playground, where he triumphed nine times – what fate could be reserved for the world No.1 in the three other major tournaments where he can hope to win a record 21st title and overtake Roger Federer and Rafael? Nadal?

. Roland-Garros more flexible

To date it is to go to Paris that Djokovic’s horizon seems the clearest, even if it will depend on the health protocol put in place by Roland-Garros (May 22-June 5) in consultation with the French authorities.

An athlete “who will not be vaccinated (…) will be able to participate in the competition because the protocol, the health bubble of these major sporting events will allow it”, according to the French Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu, questioned last week on the case of the 34-year-old Serb.


Serbian Novak Djokovic, after his victory over Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas, in the second round of the Roland-Garros tournament, June 3, 2021
© AFP – Martin BUREAU

The future vaccine pass, still examined in Parliament and which should be required for “any athlete who trains in France, whether French or foreign, if he is domiciled in our territory”, according to the explanations of the minister, would not apply, for example, to Djokovic.

Nevertheless, it is potentially one more Roland-Garros under a health bubble, like the last two editions of the clay court tournament, which would await the world No.1, with travel limited to round trips between stadium and hotel.

. Quarantined at Wimbledon?

Wimbledon is not one of the sporting events benefiting from exemptions, so Djokovic would not escape quarantine according to current British health constraints.

In detail, he should isolate himself for ten days upon his arrival in England, and test himself for the first time within two days before traveling, a second no later than the second day after his arrival, and a third at the earliest. the eighth day.

At best, this quarantine could be reduced to five days if, after two first negative tests, “Nole” takes an additional one at his own expense. Provided, however, that you have not stayed in the ten days preceding in a country appearing on the red list established by the British authorities – which currently has none.

Any positive test would extend the quarantine by 10 days from the date of the positive result.


Serbian Novak Djokovic heads to center court at Wimbledon to play in the final against Italian Matteo Berrettini on July 11, 2021
© POOL – AELTC/David Gray

Six and a half months before the Grand Slam on grass (June 27-July 10), this health protocol however has plenty of time to evolve according to the fluctuations of the pandemic.

It is also not excluded that Wimbledon recreates a health bubble, as in 2021, with imposed hotel and travel limited to joining the site of the London tournament.

. Puzzle in the United States

Unless the rules are relaxed, the border looks very complicated to cross for the US Open (August 29-September 11).

Apart from American citizens and permanent residents, since November 8, 2021, all adult passengers traveling to the United States must present proof of complete vaccination to be authorized to board. And exemptions to this vaccination obligation are rare.


Serbian Novak Djokovic, after his defeat against Russian Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final, which deprived him of the calendar Grand Slam, on September 12, 2021 in New York
© AFP – Kena Betancur

These include a “documented medical contraindication to receiving a vaccine against Covid-19” or even “participation in certain clinical trials on Covid-19”, according to the American federal public health agency. But not a recent infection, the reason for exemption on which Djokovic relied to enter Australia.

And that’s without counting on the health rules specific to New York City which are added and which, for example, prevent basketball player Kyrie Irving from playing Brooklyn Nets home games because he is not vaccinated.

The doubles specialist Pierre-Hugues Herbert, unvaccinated and who has given up the Australian Open, expects not to be able to participate in the US Open either. “The United States is the whole month of March and a whole summer tour with the US Open. Almost half the season in total, it’s not insignificant. The next step is to potentially no longer play tennis”, explained the French player in an interview with L’Equipe.

Because beyond the US Open, three of the nine Masters 1000 of the ATP calendar are played in the United States, in Indian Wells and Miami in the spring, and Cincinnati in the summer.

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