While completing his return flight from Melbourne to Belgrade, with a layover in Dubai, Novak Djokovic he received new bad news for his interests, coming from France. after being definitively expelled from Australia and remain, therefore, outside the first Grand Slam of the year, the best tennis player in the world learned that he will not be able to defend the title in Roland Garros. Unless you give your arm to twist and decide to get vaccinated, of course.
France will approve throughout this week a new law that will prohibit unvaccinated people from entering venues such as theaters and stadiums. The initial idea of the Government of Emmanuel Macron was referee health exceptions for athletes from abroad, so that they could compete without more requirements than those of normal entry into the country (negative PCR or Covid passport).
However, the delegate minister for Sports (equivalent to a Secretary of State), Roxana Maracineanu, announced a change in policy, extending to athletes who come from abroad the requirements that the French government had already established for those who have their residence in France, equating nationals and foreigners and sports fans and practitioners in this regard.
For Djokovic, this decision implies not only staying out of Roland Garros unless he accepts the immunization, but also of two Masters 1000 on the calendar, the tournaments that succeed the Grand Slam in importance: Paris-Bercy Y Monte Carlo, which despite having a Monegasque name is held annually in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, a French border town with the Principality.
But not only tennis and tennis players will suffer the consequences of this anticovid measure in France, but also many other disciplines. Given the number of international tournaments that the neighboring country hosts throughout the year, one of the most in the world, the vaccination requirement is going to have an impact on practically all sports.
The first big event on the calendar will be the tournament rugby six nations, which starts on February 5 and in which the French team will play as local in Saint-Denis against Italy (February 6), Ireland (February 12) and England (March 19). In the English team, the case of Henry Slade, who has refused to be immunized due to his diabetic condition and the adverse reaction caused by other vaccines. It will be necessary to see if France articulates exceptions that have to do with situations like that of the English player.
European football competitions will also resume in February. in the Champions, Real Madrid must visit PSG on the 15th and you can only do it with players with the full guideline. There is no official information about it, although the journalist Julio Pulido assured in El Larguero that there was at least one footballer in the white squad who had not been vaccinated.
A priori, Saudi Arabia, where the Spanish Super Cup was played last week, also prevented the entry of unvaccinated people, but the president of the RFEF, Luis Rubiales, revealed that they had reached an agreement with the Saudi authorities so that the participants in the tournament would be exempt from this obligation.
In football, it will also affect the Champions League tie between Lille and the Chelsea, as well as those from the Europa League of Olympique de Lyon, whose first rival will come out of an intermediate round. In basketball, the Asvel Villeurbanne in Euroleague, the Boulogne in Eurocup and the Dijon and the Strasbourg in the FIBA Champions League they also continue in continental competition.
And the Tour?
About cycling competitions, with the Tour de France as a great jewel, but also with dauphine, Paris-Nice or Paris-Roubaix involved, we will have to wait for the specific development of the law, given that until now there has been talk of requirements for closed areas and cycling is practiced outdoors. It does seem clear the impact on motor competitions, such as the Grand Prix of Formula 1 Y MotoGP which are disputed in France.
Another aspect that the French authorities must clarify is that of the different types of vaccines that are inoculated throughout the world. Currently, France accepts as valid vaccines that have received approval from the European Medicines Agency: Pfizer, Janssen, modern Y Astra Zeneca. Additionally, it accepts some compounds similar to these that have been used in various countries around the world.
However, and as is the case in Spain, it does not accept as vaccinated those people who have been inoculated with the Russian Sputnik. Nor does it give the go-ahead to Chinese vaccines Synopharm and the Sinovac without an additional booster dose from one of the four fully licensed brands.
the russian tennis player Natalia Vikhlyantseva She already had to face this problem in the face of the Australian Open, given that she is vaccinated with Sputnik and the oceanic government has not accepted this compound until this very Monday (too late for her) to allow entry to foreign citizens. Consequently, Vikhlyantseva has not been able to play the first Grand Slam of the year. For Australia, in practice, her case was like Djokovic's, even though she had completed her vaccination schedule.
For the Serbian tennis player, who cannot compete in the US and Canada either, there remains at least the consolation that Madrid has opened its doors wide for him to compete in the Mutua Madrid Open. "It would be a great claim," said the mayor of the capital, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, on Monday.. At least as long as the Government of Pedro Sánchez does not decide to join the path already applied by France and Australia or cities like New York.