Tennis champ Novak Djokovic likely to miss US Open due to unvaccinated status

Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts to losing a point against in the Wimbledon tennis championships.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts to losing a point against in the Wimbledon tennis championships.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Novak Djokovic, one of the best tennis players in the world, will likely miss the US Open this summer, as his unvaccinated COVID-19 status currently bars him from entering the United States. 

“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated, so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter [the] United States or exemption,” Djokovic said on Sunday. 

The 35-year-old made the comments immediately following his victory at Wimbledon over Australian-born Nick Kyrgios — which marked his fourth-straight win at the United Kingdom’s tournament.

With the US Open being the next of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments in late August, questions immediately turned toward his plans for that competition in Queens, though Djokovic shot down the idea of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in an effort to play.  

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He also speculated that American government officials would likely not grant him an exemption to the rules, which requires that all non-citizens show proof of inoculation against the novel coronavirus in order to enter the country. 

“I don’t think exemption is realistically possible,” he said. “I don’t know what exemption would be about.”

The requirements to be fully vaccinated to enter the country began with an executive order from President Joe Biden, and began on Nov. 8. 

Djokovic missed the Australian Open earlier this year after the country opted to deport the tennis pro, rather than grant him special privileges, as that country has similar requirements to the United States. 

Currently the third-ranked player in the world, the Serbian-born pro lost during the US Open finals last year to Daniil Medvedev in the finals, which denied him the elusive chance to win all four Grand Slam titles in 2021. 

“I am on vacation…I’ll definitely be resting for the next couple weeks because it has been quite an exhausting and demanding period for me the last few months,” he said. “Then I’ll wait [and] hopefully for some good news from [the] USA because I would really love to go there.” 

Djokovic has now won 21 major titles, which is second only in men’s tennis to Spanish-born Rafael Nadal with 22. 

The US Open will begin on Aug. 29.

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