Serbian tennis star and 2022 Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic will not be on court at the US Open in New York next month because he is still not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Although was seventh on the entry list for the major championship, which will be held from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York, tournament organizers said Wednesday that players must be fully vaccinated to participate.
”The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but will respect the US government’s position on travel to the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens,” the organization said on its website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires foreign travelers to the United States to be fully vaccinated before boarding flights, according to the agency.
”The only good news I can have is that they are taking the mandated green vaccination card … to enter the United States. Or exception,” Djokovic told ABC News on Sunday after winning his fourth straight Wimbledon title. ”Based on all the information I received, I decided not to take the vaccine.”
According to an ABC News report, this will be the second year in a row that Djokovic will not play in the tournament.
According to the report, American player Tennys Sandgren, despite not being vaccinated, is still allowed to participate in the tournament.
”Pretty shameful that the USTA won’t fight for an exemption for Novak,” he said on Twitter on June 16. ”No wonder the government hasn’t changed its archaic policy. I can play but he can’t? Ridiculous.”
Djokovic was famously deported from Australia in January after he was refused a visa to play in the Australian Open for not being vaccinated. The visa was renewed and then denied again, forcing him out of the country.
A petition to allow him into the US Open has gathered more than 12,000 signatures, arguing that requiring vaccinations is unnecessary at this point in the pandemic.
“At this stage of the pandemic, there is absolutely no reason why Djokovic should not be allowed to play at the 2022 US Open,” CNN reported on the petition. ”The US government and the USTA must work together to allow him to play. If unvaccinated American players can play, Djokovic as one of the legends of the game must be allowed to play. DO IT, MOUTH!”
With the future of the pandemic and vaccination requirements around the world still in doubt, Djokovic may not appear at another Grand Slam tournament until the 2023 French Open, according to a CNN report.
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