Novak Djokovic back in Serbia amid doubts over Roland-Garros participation

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But France’s vaccination pass law, approved by parliament on Sunday, will require people to have a vaccination certificate to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and long-distance trains.

“The rule is simple. The vaccine pass will be imposed, as soon as the law is promulgated, in establishments which were already subject to the health pass”, specifies the ministry.

“This will apply to anyone who is a spectator or a professional athlete. And this until further notice.

“Now, as far as Roland Garros is concerned, it is in May. The situation may change by then and we hope it will be more favorable. So, we will see, but clearly there is no derogation. “

In the meantime, Djokovic, who has said he will take some time “to rest and recuperate”, is unlikely to take part in the major ATP tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami in March due to strict restrictions imposed by the United States. United.

Novak Djokovic plays a backhand during a practice session ahead of the Australian Open 2022 at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022.

Source: Getty Images Asia-Pacific

His participation in the Monaco Open in April, the first European swing event on clay, would also be in danger since the tournament is actually taking place in France. The Monte Carlo Country Club is located 150 meters from the Principality in the French town of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

The hero’s welcome

Novak Djokovic has kept a low profile as he returns to where he will always be welcome after his expulsion from Australia.

A small but noisy group of supporters were at Belgrade airport to welcome him Monday noon.

However, they saw little of the 34-year-old as the Serbian hero was whisked through passport control and customs and then driven by his brother Djordje to his flat in Belgrade.

State-run Tanjug news agency reported that Djokovic’s mother, Dijana, said her son would stay in Belgrade for the next few days and not make statements to the media.

“God bless you Novak,” read one of the banners held by fans at Nikola Tesla Airport who chanted, “You are our champion!” and, using the diminutive of his name, “We love you, Nole!”

“Novak, welcome home, you know that we are all supporting you here,” Belgrade resident Snezana Jankovic said. “They can take away your visa, but they can’t take away your Serbian pride.”

Supporters of Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic gather at Nikola Tesla airport in Belgrade, Serbia, January 17, 2022.

Source: APE

“I think he went down in history as a hero, as a man and fighting against this evil called corona-circus,” added Marko Strugalovic, 60, at Belgrade airport.

Earlier, Djokovic wore a mask and took selfies with fans as he arrived in Dubai en route from Melbourne, changing planes for the six-hour flight to Belgrade.

Djokovic had tested positive for COVID-19 in Belgrade on December 16 but attended an interview with L’Equipe newspaper on the 18th, which he later described as “an error” in judgement.

When asked if Djokovic would face sanctions for flouting his isolation while infected upon his return to Serbia, Serbian officials said he would not because the country is not in a state of recovery. ’emergency.

Longer-term Djokovic is in principle now banned from entering Australia for three years after having his visa revoked.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has hinted there may be a way to let him in next year.

“There is the possibility for (a person) to return under the right circumstances, and it will be considered at that time,” he told 2GB radio.

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Back in Melbourne, the Australian Open started without its defending champion.

Rafael Nadal, the only player remaining in the draw to have already won the men’s singles title, said: “I wish him all the best. I think the situation has been a mess.

“If the best players are on the pitch and playing, it’s better for the sport. On a personal level, I would like to see him play here, whether it’s fair or not is another discussion. “