French Open organizers said Wednesday that Novak Djokovic is allowed to defend his title as the tournament prepares to stage what is expected to be the first Grand Slam without any coronavirus-related restrictions since the pandemic began two years ago.

On Monday, France lifted restrictions in almost all public spaces except hospitals, nursing homes and public transport, meaning the Roland Garros stadium should be operating at full capacity.


“As things stand, nothing stands in the way of Djokovic taking part in the French Open,” tournament director Amelie Mauresmo said at a news conference Wednesday.


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Russian tennis players, including top-ranked Daniil Medvedev, will also be admitted to play in the French Open but as neutral athletes because of the war started by their country in neighboring Ukraine.

Djokovic, the 20-time Grand Slam winner, was unable to defend his Australian Open title in January after being deported from the country. He had initially been admitted to the tournament despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19. He told the BBC last month that he was willing to miss upcoming Grand Slam tournaments as well if they required him to get vaccinated.

Djokovic, 34, is also out of the ATP 1000 tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami this month, unable to enter the United States without proof of vaccination.

While that is not required to enter France, French tennis federation president Gilles Moretton warned that things could change before the tournament starts May 22.

“There’s still a virus circulating, and we have to be cautious,” Moretton said. “If things were to happen again and the government would take new measures, we would not be excluded from these measures.”

Asked whether Russian tennis players will be allowed to compete at the tournament in the light of the war in Ukraine, French Open organizers said they plan to stick to decisions suspending Russia and ally Belarus but allowing their players to compete as neutral athletes.

The seven groups that run the sport around the world have condemned the war; canceled events in Russia and Belarus; kicked those two nations out of the Billie Jean King Cup and Davis Cup team competitions; and announced March 1 that players from those countries will be allowed to compete in WTA, ATP and Grand Slam tournaments but not under the name or flag of Russia or Belarus.

“We are holding this line,” said Amelie Oudea-Castera, the French tennis federation director general.

Other sports, including track and field, soccer and figure skating, have barred Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition.

Wimbledon organizers are having conversations with the British government about whether Russian players should be allowed to compete at the grass-court tournament this year if they don’t distance themselves from President Vladimir Putin.

Oudea-Castera said French organizers don’t plan to start a detailed and individualized analysis of players’ individual situations, which “can be extraordinarily dependent on the family situations experienced by each of them.”

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the day Medvedev was assured of moving atop the ATP rankings for the first time while competing at the Mexico Open.

“Watching the news from home, waking up here in Mexico, was not easy,” Medvedev said at the time. “By being a tennis player, I want to promote peace all over the world. We play in so many different countries; I’ve been in so many countries as a junior and as a pro. It’s just not easy to hear all this news. … I’m all for peace.”

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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