Djokovic issues US Open statement

The Serbian star will not travel to New York this year, he announced

Novak Djokovic has confirmed that he will not contest this year’s US Open after being unable to travel to America because of his Covid vaccine status. 

“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY [New York] this time for US Open,” the Serb wrote in a social media message on Thursday, while thanking his fans for their messages of support.

“Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!” he vowed.

Djokovic reached last year’s final at Flushing Meadows, which he lost to world number one Daniil Medvedev, and is a three-time winner at the American tournament.

After Djokovic was deported from Australia earlier this year, the US Open is the second Grand Slam he will miss in 2022 due to his position as remaining unvaccinated against coronavirus. 

Djokovic, 35, was allowed to play Wimbledon this summer, whose organizers the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) banned Russian players such as Medvedev as a response to the military operation in Ukraine but did not introduce any vaccine requirements.

Before and after winning his 21st Grand Slam at SW19 and moving one triumph behind generational rival Rafael Nadal, however, there had been indicators that Djokovic might not be able to make it to the Big Apple.

While US Open bosses the United States Tennis Association (USTA) chose not to ban Russians out of alleged fear of being stripped of ranking points like Wimbledon, it ultimately could not have any say in whether unvaccinated players featured or not. 

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Djokovic has won three of his Grand Slam titles in New York. © Sarah Stier / Getty Images
Djokovic dealt potentially decisive blow

This was due to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authority not budging from its stance that non-US citizens should be vaccinated in order to enter the country.

And though there was some hope given in recent weeks by relaxing some of the measures for American citizens, the CDC published ‘updated’ rules on Wednesday doubling down and repeating the requirements.

Furthermore, Djokovic was also left off a promotional poster for the tournament, and his announcement comes on the same day that its main draw is expected to take place.

In a statement, the US Open revealed that as its qualifying part is already underway, a ‘Lucky Loser’ will now be included in the main draw.

Without Djokovic, the US Open will get underway on Monday, August 29.

READ MORE: Djokovic ban is ‘joke,’ says tennis legend

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