Djokovic confirms he won’t play US Open

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Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic (Getty Images)

Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Former men’s world number one Novak Djokovic has said he will not play the US Open, which starts on Monday, because Covid-19 protocols mean he cannot travel to the United States.

This is the second Grand Slam the 35-year-old Serbian will miss as he was not vaccinated as he was sent off ahead of the Australian Open earlier this year.

“Unfortunately I won’t be able to travel to New York this time for the US Open,” tweeted three-time US Open champion Djokovic.

Djokovic’s announcement, which was widely expected, came hours before the draw for the final Slam of the season.

Stacey Allaster, tournament director of the US Open, regretted his absence.

“Novak is a great champion and it is very unfortunate that he cannot participate in the US Open 2022, because he cannot enter the country due to the federal government’s vaccination policy for non-American citizens. “, she said in a statement. .

“We look forward to welcoming Novak to US Open 2023.”

Tennis legend John McEnroe called Djokovic’s ban a “joke”.

“At this point in the pandemic, we’re two and a half years away, I think people around the world know more, and the idea that he can’t travel here to play, to me, is a joke. “McEnroe said.

Ironically, at the height of the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, Djokovic was cleared to play in the New York tournament, where he was champion in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

He hasn’t played since winning a seventh Wimbledon title last month, a win that took him to 21 Grand Slam victories, one shy of Rafael Nadal’s record of 22.

Just last month, Djokovic said he was “getting ready to play” at the US Open, where a traumatic loss in last year’s final at the hands of Daniil Medvedev dashed his Grand Slam hopes. of the four major tournaments.

Djokovic signed his tweet saying he hoped to return soon.

“Good luck to my teammates! I will stay fit and have a positive spirit and wait for the opportunity to compete again.

“See you soon world of tennis!”

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