Novak Djokovic of Serbia could miss three of four Grand Slam tournaments in 2022 due to respective border entry requirements for COVID-19 vaccinations. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Tennis great Novak Djokovic's quest for a record 21st Grand Slam title could be delayed further because of government officials' concerns that he has not been vaccinated for COVID-19, the issue that caused him to be deported before he could compete in the Australian Open.
The French government on Sunday voted to approve new COVID-19 safety measures, including a controversial vaccine pass. The certificate of vaccination will be required for people 16 and older to enter restaurants, cafes, cinemas, sporting venues and other public places.
Djokovic could see a situation similar to Australia when he seeks to compete in Paris, site of the 2022 French Open, if he doesn't get vaccinated. This second Grand Slam event of the season runs from May 30 to June 13.
"The vaccination pass has been adopted," French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu tweeted Sunday.
"As soon as the law is promulgated, it will become mandatory to enter public buildings already subject to the health pass (stadiums, theater or lounges) for all spectators, practitioners, French or foreign professionals."
New York City's vaccination requirements for public places for people 12 and older would not apply to Djokovic because tennis is an outdoor sport. However, United States border entry requirements for international travelers could make it impossible for Djokovic to enter the country for the final Grand Slam event of the season, the 2022 U.S. Open.
International travelers are required to be fully vaccinated to travel to the United States by plane if they are not citizens, U.S. nationals, lawful permanent residents or traveling to the United States on an immigrant visa.
The 2022 U.S. Open runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11 in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens.
Wimbledon 2022 is scheduled for June 27 through July 10 in London. Non-vaccinated travelers can visit the United Kingdom, but they are subject to additional testing and quarantine requirements.
Wimbledon's All-England Club could announce more requirements for the tournament at a later date.
Djokovic won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon during the 2021 season. He lost to Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the 2021 U.S. Open final.
Djokovic returned to Belgrade, Serbia, on Monday after his deportation from Australia. Fans flocked to the city's Nikola Tesla Airport to support the tennis star.
The 2022 Australian Open started Monday in Melbourne and runs through Jan. 30.
Novak Djokovic looks up and smiles after a long point while playing in the U.S. Open finals against Roger Federer in New York City on September 9, 2007. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo