Tennis star Djokovic can play in Italy 'if he wants'

Italy's sports undersecretary says unvaccinated tennis champ can play in Rome.

Novak Djokovic, the world's number one men's tennis player, could participate in the Internazionali d'Italia, despite not being vaccinated against covid, said Italy's sports undersecretary Valentina Vezzali.

"As far as tennis is concerned, the Super Green Pass is not foreseen, so if Djokovic wants to come and play in Rome he can - without hotels and restaurants - but he can play", Vezzali told Fanpage on the sidelines of an event at the senate on Wednesday.

Vezzali added: "We must also consider that from 31 March, depending on the decline in the epidemiological curve, the state of emergency should come to an end and the situation will be fully re-evaluated."

Djokovic, who earlier this week told the BBC he would rather miss out on future tennis trophies than be forced to get a covid vaccine, was deported from Australia last month after the government cancelled his visa in a row over his vaccine status.

The Serbian champion said he is willing to skip major competitions such as Wimbledon and the French Open over being unvaccinated, telling the BBC it is "the price that I'm willing to pay", adding that he has "always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body."

Italy's so-called Super Green Pass is a "reinforced" version of the "basic" Green Pass and can only be obtained by those who have been vaccinated or recovered from covid-19.

The 2022 Internazionali d'Italia, also known as the Rome Masters and the Italian Open, will be held in the capital from 2-15 May.