Unvaccinated Djokovic gives up hope of making US Open


Covid restrictions as things stand make it impossible for the tennis great to play at Flushing Meadows

Unvaccinated tennis world number two Novak Djokovic appears resigned to missing another tennis grand slam in 2022 given his vaccine stance and American covid protocol that will prevent him from playing the US Open later this year. 

Djokovic was memorably deported from Australia at the turn of the year and prevented from defending his crown at the Australian Open eventually won by Rafael Nadal, who surpassed him in all-time grand slam wins on 21. 

Yet he was allowed to enter the French Open also won by Nadal last month after Covid protocols were lifted there, and he can also try to retain his title at Wimbledon due to a lack of restrictions in the UK.

Speaking ahead of the British tournament he won in 2021, Djokovic looked beyond SW19 and noted that “as of today I am not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances” due to his continued unvaccinated status.

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Russia’s Daniil Medvedev won last year’s men’s title in New York. © Matthew Stockman / Getty Images
US Open announces decision on Russian players

“I am aware of that and that is an extra motivation to do well here, and hopefully I can have a very good tournament as I have done in the last three editions,” Djokovic went on.

“Then I will just have to wait and see. I would love to go to the States. But as of today that is not possible.”

“There is not much I can do anymore. It is up to the US government to make a decision whether or not they allow the unvaccinated people to go in to the country,” he confessed. 

Djokovic ruled out any remote possibility of getting vaccinated just to try and win the trophy he lost in the final to current world number one Daniil Medvedev in September last year. 

“Yes,” he answered, when asked if he had closed his mind on getting his jabs.

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© Steven Paston / PA Images via Getty Images
Banned Medvedev names Wimbledon favorites

Yet while Djokovic looks set to miss out on the New York spectacle, Medvedev has been given the green light after organizers the United States Tennis Association (USTA) decided not to ban Russian tennis players.

This was done by Wimbledon and the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) as a response to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, and Djokovic has been critical of the punishment which he finds discriminatory.

The ATP and WTA men’s and women’s tours agreed and stripped the competition of its ranking points as a consequence, which means that even if Djokovic wins it for a seventh time, he will not unseat Medvedev as the world’s top male player just yet.

Rivalries aside, Medvedev has chosen Djokovic as one of his three favorites at Wimbledon alongside Nadal and Matteo Berrettini. 

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