Tennis star Novak Djokovic may be barred from competing in the upcoming French Open. Going forward, France’s Sports Ministry has made it mandatory for professional athletes, regardless of their nationality, to show their credentials and present a valid vaccine pass to gain access to sports venues in the country.

Djokovic recently spent almost a week in visa limbo in Australia due to his unvaccinated status. After a few legal hurdles, a judge ruled that Novak Djokovic had to leave the country immediately. Although Djokovic’s lawyers argued that he had “ticked absolutely every box” for vaccine exemption after his recent coronavirus infection, the Serbian tennis pro’s visa was revoked for the second time “on health and good order grounds.”

France’s new vaccine pass regulation has not yet been promulgated but is expected to come into force soon. Under the new set of regulations, any athlete who doesn’t have a valid vaccine pass will not be allowed to take part in the French Open, which is scheduled to be held in Paris in May. 

About this, the French Sports Ministry said, “This will apply to everyone who is a spectator or a professional sportsperson. As far as Roland Garros is concerned, it’s in May. The situation may change between now and then and we hope it’ll be more favourable. So we’ll see but clearly there’s no exemption.”

The French Sports Ministry’s stance was welcomed by Alexander Zverev, Germany’s world number three champion. After winning his opening match at Melbourne Park, he said, “At least it’s clear what’s going to happen. OK, no unvaccinated players are allowed to play in the French Open. We know that now in advance, and I can imagine there’s not going to be any exemptions, and that’s OK.”