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Novak Djokovic Pulls Out Of US Open Due To America's COVID Vaccination Policy

The 35-year-old was also unable to defend his Australian Open crown earlier this year after being deported from the country over his vaccination status.

Novak Djokovic Pulls Out Of US Open Due To America's COVID Vaccination Policy
Serbian Tennis Star Novak Djokovic. (ANI File Photo)

Former world number 1 Novak Djokovic on Thursday announced that he will be missing out on the upcoming US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year that begins next week, owing to his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine. Current rules require travellers to show proof of full vaccination to board flights to and enter the United States.

Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the Grand Slam tournament on Twitter, hours before the draw for the event was revealed. "Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open," Djokovic wrote, wishing luck to his fellow players, and said he would "keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again."

The Serbian previously said he was prepared to miss Grand Slam tournaments that require participating players to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Djokovic was on the entry list for the Aug 29-Sept 11 tournament in New York. The 35-year-old was also unable to defend his Australian Open crown earlier this year after being deported from the country over his vaccination status.

"Novak Djokovic withdrew from the 2022 US Open prior to the draw taking place this morning. The official seeding list is not determined until the draw is made. As the Qualifying Tournament has commenced, his withdrawal resulted in a Lucky Loser being included in the draw," said a statement from US Open.

Djokovic is a 35-year-old from Serbia who owns 21 major championships, one behind Rafael Nadal for the men's record. Three of Djokovic's Slam trophies came at the U.S. Open, in 2011, 2015 and 2018. He also was the runner-up there a half-dozen times, including last season, when his pursuit of the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men's tennis since 1969 ended with a loss in the final to Daniil Medvedev.

The U.S. Tennis Association has said all along it will follow government rules about vaccination status for this year's Open. There is no vaccine mandate at the tournament for players or their support teams — meaning that an unvaccinated American would be allowed to compete — and spectators will not be required to wear masks.

Djokovic missed the Australian Open in January after a protracted legal saga ended with his deportation from that country because he isn't vaccinated against COVID-19. He also sat out four significant tournaments in North America in 2022, including in Montreal and Cincinnati recently. He did play in the French Open, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Nadal, and at Wimbledon, where Djokovic won the title.

Among the other players who will not be at the U.S. Open for various reasons are No. 2-ranked Alexander Zverev, the 2020 runner-up in New York; 2016 champion Angelique Kerber; 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova; Gael Monfils and Reilly Opelka.


(With Agencies Inputs)

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