Novak Djokovic will not be able to compete at the 2022 Canada Masters under current rules in the country, tournament director Eugene Lapierre has confirmed. Lapierre also revealed that he expects the event to return to normal this year and that ticket sales are going "full steam ahead."
Earlier this month, the French government announced that it would lift its rules regarding COVID-19 vaccine passes. This appeared to clear the way for Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated, to play at the 2022 French Open, which is scheduled to begin on 22 May.
The 34-year-old was also given the green light to play in Paris by Roland Garros tournament director Amelie Maursemo.The lifting of restrictions means the Serb will also be able to compete at the Monte-Carlo Masters, which is set to start on 9 April.
The 20-time Major champion could not defend his 2021 Australian Open crown in January following his deportation from the country, after a two-week saga over his vaccination status and visa.
In an interview with Le Journal de Montreal, Lapierre explained that current COVID-19 government regulations would prevent Djokovic from competing in Canada.
"We're not really in a hurry," Lapierre said. "We imagine that there will be changes as we go along; if the situation improves, if the situation worsens, or whatever. If it were today, it would be impossible for Novak to return to Canada and participate in the event. So we're going to wait."
"It gives us nothing to worry about on this side because we will follow the rule," Lapierre continued. "We will follow the recommendations of the authorities. In Europe, the cases are going up. We may have some not so pleasant surprises, but for now, it seems to be going well."
Lapierre also gave an update on preparations for the ATP Masters 1000 tournament, which is set to be held in Montreal from 7-14 August.
"It's going very, very well," Lapierre added. "We will return to a normal tournament. In 2020, it was cancelled. In 2021, we were at a third or so of capacity. We'll be happy to see the stands full and it's responding very well for the moment. Ticket sales are going full steam ahead."
Novak Djokovic is a four-time Canada Masters champion
Novak Djokovic has won the Canada Masters four times - in 2007 and 2011 in Montreal, and 2012 and 2016 in Toronto. Only Rafael Nadal has won the event more times in the Open Era (5).
The 34-year-old Serb holds a 37-7 (84%) record at the ATP Masters 1000 event. He last played the Canada Masters in 2018, when he was beaten by eventual runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.