British men’s number one Cameron Norrie saw his hopes of qualifying for the ATP Finals take a blow after a straight-set loss to American Taylor Fritz in Paris.
Fritz won 6-3 7-6 (7-3) to progress to the last eight, where he will face world number one Novak Djokovic.
Significant points are on offer in Paris in the hunt for a spot in the year-end ATP Finals.
Norrie, 26, could have guaranteed qualification with a title win.
Both players played exceptional tennis as the match went to a tie-break in the second set.
Fritz continued his recent fine run of form to see off a battling Norrie, with the American serving well throughout, hitting 10 aces to the Briton’s three.
Why is Novak Djokovic being denied entry to Australia?
Novak Djokovic is awaiting a final decision from an Australian judge on whether his medical exemption from COVID vaccination is valid for him to play in the Australian Open in Melbourne which starts on 17 January.
Novak Djokovic sparked outrage this week when he revealed he was being exempted from COVID vaccination rules to play in the Australian Open.
On Tuesday, the 34-year-old defending champion said he was “heading Down Under with an exemption permission” ahead of the grand slam tournament which begins on 17 January.
But on arrival at Melbourne airport on Wednesday, the Serbian tennis star was held for about eight hours by border officials who cancelled his visa and refused to allow him to enter the country.
They said he failed to provide appropriate evidence to meet Australia’s entry requirements and he faces deportation.
The world number one has repeatedly refused to reveal whether he has been vaccinated against coronavirus or not.
While he has said he is “not against vaccines of any kind”, he claims: “My issue here with vaccines is if someone is forcing me to put something in my body. That I don’t want. For me that’s unacceptable.”
Happy New Year! Wishing you all health, love & joy in every moment & may you feel love & respect towards all beings on this wonderful planet.
I’ve spent fantastic quality time with loved ones over break & today I’m heading Down Under with an exemption permission. Let’s go 2022! pic.twitter.com/e688iSO2d4
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) January 4, 2022
In a Facebook live discussion with other Serbian athletes, he added: “Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.”
But he said he would “have to make a decision” if they become compulsory.
Djokovic contracted coronavirus in June 2020 after the Adria Tour he organised around Serbia and Croatia was criticised for a lack of COVID protocols and was ultimately cancelled due to an outbreak of cases.
According to the Australian Department of Health: “For travel into and out of Australia, travellers must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination status.”
Proof of two vaccine doses can be shown using the International COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate, it adds.
The only exemptions are children aged 11 and under and those who “can’t get any of the approved COVID-19 vaccines for medical reasons”.
If you have been vaccinated overseas, the jab you had must be on the Australian regulator’s approved list – which includes Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen and Sinovac.
The Australian border only reopened in late 2021 in line with the country’s strict restrictions for containing the virus and stopping cases being imported from abroad. They have meant thousands of families being kept apart for almost two years. Now you can only travel there if you have an exemption.
Australian citizens, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens usually resident in Australia, and their family members are all automatically exempt – but they still must be vaccinated. From 15 December 2021, “fully-vaccinated holders of eligible visas” have been allowed entry, as well as those granted individual exemptions.
After Djokovic posted about his medical exemption on social media, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he would be on the “next flight home” without proof he had been vaccinated.
After his visa decision was overturned, he told the press: “All I can say is that the evidence (for) medical exemption that was provided was found to be insufficient.”