Unvaccinated French tennis star withdraws from Australian Open
The French tennis ace Pierre-Hugues Herbert is the first unseeded tennis player to announce his withdrawal from the Australian Open next month. The tournament starts on 17 January 2022.
Published: December 14, 2021, 5:21 am
Herbert won the men’s doubles title at this tournament two years ago together with his compatriot Nicolas Mahut and is eighth in the world doubles ranking. The pair won the French Open in 2021 and were considered one of the favorites for this year’s Australian Open doubles title.
Herbert has confirmed that he is not vaccinated, which means he will not be able to obtain a visa to enter Australia. He told the French newspaper L’Alsace: “Personally, I am not vaccinated so traveling to Australia was not an option for me. I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t know if it is possible to play tennis today without a vaccination.”
Australian organisers insist that all players looking to take part be vaccinated.
The Frenchman is currently number 109 in the ATP ranking list in singles and would therefore automatically qualify for the main draw of the Australian Open.
His French compatriot Jeremy Chardy will also be absent from the tournament next month after suffering a serious adverse reaction to Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine in September this year.
The tournament could also see Serbian star Novak Djokovic not defending his men’s singles title if he refuses to comply with Australia’s vaccine policy. Djokovic, a nine-time winner at Melbourne Park, has so far refused to reveal his vaccination status. “The media has become… I have no word how to describe it. It spreads fear and panic among people and I don’t want to participate in that rift. I feel that everyone is hostile. I don’t want to give them a reason to write some things about me.”
Djokovic has said that he was against vaccinations and did not want to be “forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel”.
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