Djokovic's Anti-Vax Stance Means No US Open

Unvaccinated star can't travel to US and thus cannot compete in the major
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 25, 2022 12:48 PM CDT
Djokovic's Anti-Vax Stance Means No US Open
Novak Djokovic in a file photo.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Tennis star Novak Djokovic's vaccination-related troubles continue. The 35-year-old Serbian said Thursday that he will not play in the US Open because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and thus not allowed to travel to the United States, per the AP. Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the year’s last Grand Slam tournament on Twitter, hours before the draw for the event was revealed. “Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open,” Djokovic wrote, wishing luck to his fellow players, and said he would “keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again." Play is scheduled to begin at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Foreign citizens who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are currently unable to enter the US or Canada, and Djokovic has said he won’t get the shots, even if that prevents him from playing in certain tournaments. The US Tennis Association has said all along it will follow government rules about vaccination status for this year’s Open. There is no vaccine mandate at the tournament for players or their support teams—meaning that an unvaccinated American would be allowed to compete—and spectators will not be required to wear masks.

Djokovic missed the Australian Open in January after a protracted legal saga ended with his deportation from that country because he isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. He also sat out four significant tournaments in North America in 2022, including in Montreal and Cincinnati recently. He did play in the French Open, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon, where Djokovic won the title. Djokovic owns 21 major championships, one behind Nadal for the men’s record. Three of Djokovic’s Slam trophies came at the US Open, in 2011, 2015, and 2018.

(More Novak Djokovic stories.)

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