Novak Djokovic requested special permission to play tennis in Australia without receiving the COVID-19 vaccination in January when he appeared before a panel of judges there. He received one final hearing before being denied.
Since then, nations like France and Britain have loosened their travel restrictions, allowing Djokovic to play despite having COVID-19 at least twice and resolutely refusing to get immunized.
On the other hand, Djokovic was compelled to leave the US Open on Thursday (Friday AEST). He was not permitted to enter New York since he was still unvaccinated.
Many of the travel and coronavirus-related restrictions in the United States have been abolished, but unvaccinated foreigners are still not permitted to enter the country, which prevents one of the top men’s tennis players from competing in one of the most significant tournaments of the year.
Hours before the US Open’s organizers decided on the event’s matchups, Djokovic posted on Twitter, “Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for the US Open.”
The competition is set to begin on Monday. “I’ll stay in shape, be upbeat, and wait for another opportunity to participate.”
In a statement about Djokovic’s decision to pull out of the US Open on the morning of the draw, Stacey Allaster, the tournament director, said it was “very unfortunate that he would be unable to compete at the 2022 US Open.”
With Serena Williams competing in what she has said will be her final tournament of her career, this year’s Grand Slam is one to watch.
While everything was going on, Australian Nick Kyrgios, who lost to Djokovic in this year’s Wimbledon final, was paired up in the first round against Thanasi Kokkinakis, his doubles partner and close friend.
Only Djokovic is still unvaccinated among the top men’s singles competitors.
That choice, which was criticized by other tennis greats, including Rafael Nadal, has led to a conflict between his staunch support for individual freedom and skepticism of well-established science and the politics and policies of global public health.
After winning his 21st Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in July, Novak Djokovic said it was unlikely that he would play in the US Open.
“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 an exemption,” he said, adding, “I don’t think exemption is realistically possible.”
Djokovic, 35, is giving up a chance to draw even with Nadal for the most men’s singles Grand Slam titles. Nadal has 22 and Djokovic has 21.