The likely scenario: Djokovic plays in Grand Slams this year, at Wimbledon at least, at Roland-Garros maybe
Novak Djokovic is ready to skip the biggest tournaments in the world to respect his vaccine convictions. But the evolution of the pandemic could be favorable to him by this spring.
The only certainty on Novak Djokovic’s agenda is that he will play the Dubai tournament next week. The rest of the short-term international tennis calendar is blocked for him: the American regulations on foreign travelers prohibit him from considering playing in Indian Wells and Miami, and among the Masters 1000, Monte-Carlo and Rome are, on paper, also forbidden to him.
To play and defend points, in a context where Daniil Medvedev has a very good chance of becoming world number one (a quarter-final in Acapulco could be enough), Djokovic can, in the short term, project himself on Belgrade (April 18-24) and Madrid (May 1-8).
Titles to defend at Wimbledon and Roland-Garros
However, the restrictions affecting the main Western countries are not set in stone with the ebb of the pandemic, particularly in France and the United Kingdom, hosts of the next two Grand Slam tournaments, where Djokovic hopes to defend his titles.
We must keep in mind how important these two events are from a ranking perspective: Djokovic would theoretically be sixth in the world today if the points of his two trophies were to be subtracted from his tally.
It could end up going from a theoretical to a harsh reality. In France, as soon as the Australian Open ended, the presidential majority had made it known that Djokovic was “not intended” to play the French Open if he did not have a vaccination pass to present.
“There is reason to hope that by this time horizon the situation will have improved sufficiently for us to be able to lift these final measures,”Gabriel Attal, spokesperson for the French government
Ten days later, government spokesman Gabriel Attal indicated at the end of the Council of Ministers that this imperative could be lifted around March-April if the drop in contamination was confirmed.
“There is reason to hope that by this time horizon the situation will have improved sufficiently for us to be able to lift these final measures,” he explained on February 9.
The French Political context
The timeline evoked has been drawn by the president of the council of orientation of the vaccine strategy, Alain Fischer, questioned recently, before the mission of information of the Senate, and who had said to envisage giving up the pass “at the end of March, the beginning April”, on condition of reaching an incidence rate “at least ten or twenty times lower than today, and especially that the current hospital overload has disappeared.”
The context of the presidential election will undoubtedly also have some influence, depending on whether French President Emmanuel Macron wishes to provide guarantees on the lifting of restrictions on the general population or to reinforce his stature as a defender of the vaccine strategy.
Full lifting of restrictions at the end of the month in London
In the United Kingdom, the situation is even clearer: the trend clearly points to Djokovic being able to play Wimbledon. The All-England Club has always indicated that its access policy will be guided by the recommendations of political authorities.
In this regard, British territory is now eligible for unvaccinated foreigners, provided they isolate themselves on arrival in the event of a positive test. But the United Kingdom will lift all restrictions on February 24, a month before the date initially targeted, in accordance with its “living with it” strategy. All of this, of course, is subject to a new wave, new variant and permanence of the solutions proposed by the powers of each State to stem the epidemic.