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Novak Djokovic set to play French Open as France announce change in Covid vaccine rules

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NOVAK DJOKOVIC was kept out of the Australian Open after being deported for his unvaccinated status.

Novak Djokovic looks set to compete in the French Open after France’s Prime Minister confirmed they would suspend their Covid vaccine pass rules from March 14. The government had already updated the border rules to allow unvaccinated individuals into the country from today. It comes after the world No 2 was kicked out of the Australian Open for his unvaccinated status.

Djokovic has struggled to enter tournaments so far this season as he remains unvaccinated.

He travelled to Melbourne for the Australian Open at the start of the season but was deported ahead of the tournament after the Federer Court ruled his presence could “excite anti-vax sentiment”.

The world No 2 has only played one event in Dubai, starting his season at the ATP 500 there last week and losing in the quarter-final.

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He will now miss the upcoming Masters 1000s in Indian Wells and Miami as the United States requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated.

It is currently not known where Djokovic will play next, as he originally faced a ban from the Monte Carlo Masters at the beginning of April.

But he could now be allowed to compete in both the clay-court Masters and in the French Open later in the spring, after France’s president announced an end to the country’s Covid vaccine pass rules.

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Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the news today, telling TF1: “The health situation is improving.”

Mandatory masks in most places will be scrapped from March 14, along with the vaccine pass which originally denied Djokovic the chance to compete as it banned people from entering sporting venues unless they were fully vaccinated.

French officials had originally been firm in their stance, not allowing Djokovic to play as long as the vaccine pass rules were in effect.

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“If you are called Djoko, Nadal or Mr Whoever, you respect the rules. All the big events which will take place in France will adopt the Covid Pass,” Stanislas Guerin, who represents the 17th and 18th arrondissements in Paris, said in January.

“Who would understand if we asked our citizens to make an effort and respect the rules and we then authorised some to get out of them?”

The 20-time Major champion also faced a ban from the Monte Carlo Masters in April – the first big tournament after this month’s ‘Sunshine Double’ that he cannot play – despite residing in Monaco.

Novak Djokovic

Last month, tournament director Zeljko Franulovic said: “If he meets the health requirements of the French government, we will be happy to host him.”

Djokovic will now meet the health requirements when the tournament begins on April 9 if the pass is not brought back.

However, a presidential election in France on April 10 could still keep him out of the French Open at the end of May, if a new party came to power and reinstated the rule.

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But with the vaccine pass set to be suspended indefinitely, the 20-time Grand Slam champion will be able to return in Paris to defend his French Open crown and fight to tie Rafael Nadal with a record 21st Major title.