Novak Djokovic will not be allowed to play in the US Open due to his refusal to get the Covid-19 vaccine. The decision comes despite his name featuring in the entry list. The tournament organizers said on Wednesday that they would respect the United States' government rules on the Covid-19 vaccine, which bans Djokovic from playing in the US Open as he is still unvaccinated.
According to the government's mandate, non-citizens must be properly vaccinated against the coronavirus to enter the United States. However, Djokovic has repeatedly stated that he will not take the shot, which now rules him out from playing in the tournament now.
A Different Fight
This isn't the first time that Djokovic has been banned from playing at a Grand Slam tournament. The reigning Wimbledon champion was banned from playing in the Australian Open in January after he landed in the country without getting jabbed for the coronavirus.
Djokovic was hopeful about playing in the US Open. Last week, the tennis star said that he was waiting "hopefully for some good news from USA" after winning the Wimbledon. The 35-year-old, who has won three titles at Flushing Meadows, was also put on the entry list for the year's last grand slam on Wednesday, but that is just procedure and does not guarantee that he will be permitted to compete.
The US Open organizers said in a statement that while they do not mandate vaccinations for players in order for them to compete in the Major, they will follow the government's position on the subject.
"Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men's and women's singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event. The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government's position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens," the statement read.
The Serbian superstar has earlier made it clear that he won't take the Covid-19 vaccine just to compete in tournaments. He also issued a statement on his vaccine stance following his Wimbledon win.
"I'm not vaccinated and I'm not planning to get vaccinated, so the only good news I can have is that they're getting rid of the mandatory green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter the United States or exemption. I'm not sure. I don't believe exemption is a realistic possibility. If that is a possibility, I'm not sure what the exemption would be for," he had said in a statement last week.
In February, Djokovic told the BBC that he had vaccines as a child and that he was not "against vaccinations."
"I've always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body," he added.
After defeating a fiery Nick Kyrgios in four sets in June, Djokovic won his fourth consecutive Wimbledon championship weeks earlier.
Goran Ivanisevic, his coach, said in July that he had a better chance of making a comeback at 50 than Djokovic having a match in Queens in August. Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001.
However, in contrast to Wimbledon, Russian and Belarusian athletes, such as men's players Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev and women's athletes Daria Kasatkina and Victoria Azarenka, are listed on the US Open entry list.
Although Djokovic is extremely unlikely to go to New York, Serena Williams will be there after being added to the entry list. Williams, a six-time US Open champion, announced her intention to compete in her home grand slam by registering for the majority of the US hard-court swing, which includes competitions in Toronto and Cincinnati.