Due to travel limitations, world No. 6 Novak Djokovic withdrew from the US Open on Thursday before the draw was set. He is not immunised against Covid-19.
The US now prohibits entry of non-vaccinated foreign nationals. In recent weeks, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country’s health protection agency, examined several of its policies regarding people who are not immunised.
Djokovic’s sudden withdrawal, though, indicates that there may still be some limits on travel.
“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open. Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support,” the three-time US Open champion Djokovic
Djokovic wrote on Twitter.
“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 added.
The 35-year-old has a 23-5 record this year, including victories at Wimbledon and the Italian Open in Rome.
Djokovic, who has won 21 major titles, previously declared he was ready to skip Grand Slam events if competitors must receive the Covid-19 vaccine. In addition, he was unable to defend his Australian Open title earlier this year due to a protracted court battle that resulted in his deportation from that nation for not having the required vaccinations.
The tennis star also sat out four significant tournaments in North America in 2022, including in Montreal and Cincinnati recently.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) described Djokovic’s absence as “unfortunate” but looked forward to having him back next year.
“Novak is a great champion and, unfortunately, he will be unable to compete at the 2022 US Open, as he is unable to enter the country due to the federal government’s vaccination policy for non-U.S.citizens. We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 US Open,” said US Open Tournament Director Stacey Allaster in a statement.
A lucky loser will replace Djokovic in the draw. The main draw will be played from August 29-September 11.
(Inputs from IANS)