John McEnroe insists it is ‘stupid’ not to let Novak Djokovic play at US Open; feels Serbian can win 25 Slams
John McEnroe has doubled down on his criticism of the United States’ mandate not to allow Novak Djokovic to enter the country and play at the US Open, saying “I consider it a joke”, although he does feel the Serbian can “reach 25 majors” despite his recent setbacks.
As things stand, Djokovic cannot to travel to the United States for the season-ending Grand Slam in New York as unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to enter the US, as per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, the CDC has relaxed its regulations in recent weeks and they are in the process of reviewing their entry requirements for foreigners and a late change could still see Djokovic compete.
McEnroe has in the past described the decision not allow the 21-time Grand Slam winner entry into the US as “BS” and he again hit out.
“I think it’s stupid that they don’t let him play,” he told Marca and other publications during US Open preview event.
“It’s the closest thing to a joke. I would have been vaccinated instead, but you have to respect their way of thinking. We have been living with the pandemic for two and a half years and I consider it a joke that they won’t allow him to participate.”
On the back of winning Wimbledon, Djokovic moved to within one Grand Slam of Rafael Nadal in terms of most majors won by a male player after the Spaniard won the Australian Open – in Djokovic’s absence – and the French Open.
If the Serbian is unable to play at Flushing Meadows, then it will give Nadal an opportunity to increase his advantage.
Although former world No 1 McEnroe feels the 35-year-old Djokovic can get to 25 Grand Slams, he believes the mental side of not knowing what the future holds due to his unvaccinated status could affect him.
“What is evident is that when Djokovic is not there, the great beneficiary is Nadal. He produced a miraculous victory at the Australian Open and the Serbian was the favourite there having won nine titles,” the American said.
“It is true that Djokovic is younger and it seems that his body responds to him and he has no injuries. He can reach 25 majors, but addition to the tennis part you have to add the mental aspect.
“It is not easy to train without knowing when or what you will be able to play on your planned schedule. It took him four months to get his head back after everything that happened to him in Australia in January.”
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