Novak Djokovic Will Miss US Open Due To Covid Vaccine Status - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Novak Djokovic Will Miss US Open Due To Covid Vaccine Status

Despite his recent success at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will not play at the upcoming US Open due to his vaccine status.

It’s hard to imagine a Grand Slam tournament without the presence of Novak Djokovic. In recent years, the Serbian has come to dominate the tennis court with his athleticism that goes unmatched. Shots that, against any other opponent, would be an immediate winner, are instead returned with force, shocking his opponents who feel like they are playing against a brick wall: every ball comes back, pushing them further behind the baseline, testing their fitness and pushing them to their very limits. 

But as we learned with the saga that unfolded with the Australian Open, Djokovic is a name that now might appear less and less throughout the Grand Slam calendar as doubts over his Covid-19 vaccine status continue to be aired. Now, it’s been revealed that he won’t play at the upcoming US Open as he confirmed he is unable to enter the United States border owing to his choice to be unvaccinated against Covid. 

With 21 Grand Slams to his name, it’s a difficult announcement to make, particularly as Djokovic now looks to close in on 22-time grand slam champion, Rafael Nadal. As Djokovic explained, “Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open. Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!”

It was only today that Djokovic announced he would not be competing, despite having been considered in the draw for much of this time. During his run to the title at Wimbledon, the tennis star expressed his hope that border policies in the United States would change so as to allow unvaccinated non-citizens the opportunity to enter the country. 

In recent days, the US Centres for Disease Control has come under fire from citizens of the United States for lack of guidance regarding the coronavirus, but an update released on Wednesday on the organisation’s website confirmed that non-US citizens must show proof of being fully vaccinated before flying to the United States. 

Tournament director, Stacey Allaster, said Djokovic’s withdrawal from the tournament is a disappointing one. “Novak is a great champion and it is very unfortunate that he will be unable to compete at the 2022 US Open, as he is unable to enter the country due to the federal government’s vaccination policy for non-US citizens. We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 US Open,” she wrote in a statement. 

Djokovic will next compete at the Davis Cup in September, followed by the Laver Cup in London the following week. But when it comes to the grand slam tournaments – those that the star is most concerned about chasing given his quest to emerge as the most successful men’s singles champion in history – it remains to be seen whether he will be allowed to play. 

The Australian Open will mark the first tournament in the calendar come January 2023, but after being detained in an immigration facility and then deported following a legal hearing regarding his visa, it remains to be seen whether Djokovic will compete. Australian border rules dictate that non-citizens whose visas are revoked are barred from applying for a new visa for three years, but under the new Australian government led by Anthony Albanese, a decision whether to uphold the ban could be made at a later date. 

By Jessica Campbell

Jess is a storyteller committed to sharing the human stories that lie at the heart of sport.

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