After Novak Djokovic withdrew from tournaments in Florida and California because he cannot enter the United States as a foreigner who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, the spokesman for the United States Tennis Association said Saturday that they “had high hopes” that the first in the world rankings could play the US Open in August.
“Policies regarding entry into the United States are determined by the White House. We hope they will rescind that policy preventing Novak Djokovic from entering the United States in the near future,” USTA’s Chris Widmaier wrote to The Associated Press. “There are no COVID-19 restrictions at the US Open for any player, fans or attendees. Novak, one of our great champions, would be welcome at the 2023 US Open.”
The two-week tournament at Flushing Meadows begins on August 28.
Djokovic, 35, was unable to travel to New York for the last Grand Slam in 2022 and also missed the Miami Open and Indian Wells due to not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
A six-time Miami champion, Djokovic has withdrawn from the event that begins next week, a Miami Open spokesman said Saturday.
The Serbian is number one in the ATP rankings and is tied with Rafael Nadal – who will not be in Miami due to injury – with the men’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. In 2023, Djokovic is 15-1 with two championships, including the Australian Open in January.
But he will have to lose the first two Masters of the campaign. He withdrew from Indian Wells in California and which ends this weekend because he could not enter the United States without being vaccinated against COVID-19.
In April 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, Djokovic said he was against the need to be vaccinated to travel. He subsequently assured himself that he would not get vaccinated even if it meant that he had to miss tournaments.
In January 2022 he tried to receive an exception to participate in the Australian Open and traveled to Melbourne. His case went to court, his visa was revoked and he was deported.
Australia has since eased their restrictions and Djokovic returned safely to win the first major of the year.
While Nadal has been out since picking up a left hip flexor injury in the second round at Melbourne Park. He looks to return at the Monte Carlo Masters next month.