Novak Djokovic is set to be cleared to play at the French Open and defend his title at Roland Garros after France decided to scrap its Covid vaccine pass rule.
Djokovic, who defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in last year’s final (6–7, 2–6, 6–3, 6–2, 6–4), will now be free to enter the country and play the Grand Slam.
The new ruling, which is set to come into force from 14 March, will also see the mandatory-wearing of masks scrapped.
That world No 2 will therefore be in the draw for the tournament, which kicks off on 22 May, as he bids to draw level with Rafael Nadal on 21 men’s singles Grand Slams after the Spaniard’s victory over Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open final in January.
It will be Djokovic’s first Grand Slam appearance of 2022 after the fiasco over his Australian visa, due to his Covid vaccine exemption, led to his deportation before the tournament in Melbourne started.
The 34-year-old has recently spoken out about his willingness to stand by his beliefs and miss future Grand Slams, including the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open this year, which could ultimately allow Nadal to win out in the race to finish their careers with the most men’s singles Grand Slams.
But the new French ruling will see Djokovic back on tennis’ big stage and also paves the way for the Serbian to play at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters from 9 April.
However, Djokovic is still currently unable to play in the United States due to rules barring entry to non-vaccinated people, meaning he will miss both Masters 1000 events this month in Indian Wells and Miami.
It also casts doubt over his participation at the US Open later this year unless rules change.
Djokovic made his return to the court last month at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship, suffering a shock loss to , which ultimately conceded the world No 1 ranking to Russian Daniil Medvedev.
The result was quickly followed by Djokovic announcing that he has split from his long-time coach Marian Vajda.