French tennis ace Pierre-Hugues Herbert has become the first unvaccinated tennis player to announce his withdrawal from next month’s Australian Open.

Herbert won the men’s doubles title at the tournament two years ago along with countryman Nicolas Mahut and is ranked eighth in the world in doubles. The pair won the 2021 French Open and were considered one of the favorites for this year’s Australian Open doubles title.

Nicolas Mahut with Pierre-Hugues Herbert (right)

Herbert has confirmed that he is not vaccinated, which means he will not be granted a visa to enter Australia. He told French publication L’Alsace:

“Personally, I am not vaccinated so the trip to Australia was not an option for me.

I don’t know how long it will last. I don’t know if it’s feasible today to be a tennis player without being vaccinated.”

The Frenchman is currently No. 109 in the ATP Rankings in singles so would have had an automatic entry into the Australian Open main draw, but it is in the doubles that he will miss out most as he and compatriot Nicolas Mahut are regular challengers for major titles.

Fellow Frenchman Jeremy Chardy also won’t be playing at the tournament next month after having suffered a severe adverse reaction to the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in September this year.

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By Daemon

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