The president of the Italian Tennis Federation confirmed five-time champion Novak Djokovic can come to Rome and play at the Italian Open next month. Djokovic is not vaccinated but under government legislation, he can enter Italy and play there.
“The rules regarding players’ participation are established by the government and the ATP,” federation president Angelo Binaghi said at the presentation for the May 8-15 tournament.
Binaghi indicated that he had discussed the issue with Valentina Vezzali, the Italian government’s cabinet undersecretary in charge of sports, who was seated next to him.
Djokovic couldn’t defend his Australian Open title in January after he was deported from the country for not being vaccinated. He also missed tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami because he couldn’t travel to the United States for the same reason.
Current entry rules for Italy require either proof of vaccination against COVID-19, proof of recovery from infection or a negative test. Djokovic says he has tested positive at least twice for COVID-19, with his last case coming in December.
Italian Open 2022 and Future
Djokovic recently returned to action at the Monte Carlo Masters. He lost his opening match to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain. This week he is playing at home in the Serbia Open.
Djokovic won the Rome tournament in 2020. However, in 2021, he lost in the Italian Open final to Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard is still out due to a rib injury.
After two years of reduced capacity, the Italian Open will be open to full crowds at the Foro Italico for the combined men’s and women’s event.
In 2023, the Italian Federation hopes to upgrade the tournament. That would mean lengthening the event by a few more days. Approval is required from the ATP tour before that can happen. “(ATP president Andrea) Gaudenzi is nearly at the finish line. He’s obtained approval from all of the stakeholders. The only thing missing is a question pertaining to TV rights,” Binaghi said. He also hoped an announcement on the upgrade can be made during this year’s tournament.
Organisers are also looking to build a retractable roof over the main court – Campo Centrale. In July, they will select a project from the seven finalists who bid for the work.