Casper Ruud ‘sad’ that ‘big superstar’ Novak Djokovic will miss US Open, but also ‘not crying about it’

Novak Djokovic in action

Casper Ruud believes it would have been “in the best interest” of the United States to allow Novak Djokovic to play at the US Open while he also admits it is “sad that politics will get in the way” of the Serbian’s Grand Slam battle with Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic won’t play at the season-ending major after US Open organisers decided to enforce the guidelines from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under the regulation, unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to enter the country.

After initially hoping for a late change in policy, 21-time Grand Slam Djokovic winner confirmed on Thursday that he had pulled out of the tournament.

In an interview with Barbara Schett and Mats Wilander on Eurosport, fifth seed Ruud admitted that all players need to look out for themselves due to the individualistic nature of tennis.

Why tennis is losing as much as Novak Djokovic after US Open withdrawal

“It’s an individual sport so all the players will think about themselves firstly, so it’s not too much talk, honestly,” he said.

He added: “I think it’s sad that politics will get in his way, or these rules will get in his way.”

To add insult to injury, Djokovic’s battle for most Grand Slam titles with Nadal is also affected as the Spaniard won the Australian Open earlier this year with the Serbian also absent due to his unvaccinated status. Nadal will also feature in New York.

The Norwegian admits it is “sad” that the tennis great won’t be play.

“He’s chasing Rafa with one more ahead of him in the Grand Slam count, so he’s chasing history,” Ruud said.

“I do think that it could be in the best interest of the country. He has won there many times before and he has brought a great crowd to the stadium. You can argue that it’s in the best interest of the country. He’s a big superstar. Having him and Rafa in the final would be so epic, because everyone knows what’s on the line.

“I do think it’s very sad [but] for me personally, I’m not crying about it. But as a colleague I’m sad about it.

“This is a special case because of politics and I don’t think you should mix politics and sport because it makes a bad outcome. For him it’s so unfortunate, he won Wimbledon but didn’t win points for it.”