Novak Djokovic confirms US Open withdrawal as entry options run dry

Novak Djokovic attends a media day

Novak Djokovic has been forced to concede that he will not be able to gain entry to the United States in time to compete in the US Open.

Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the tournament just hours before the US Open draw on Thursday 25 August 2022.

In a message to fans, Djokovic thanked his supporters for their kind words of encouragement.

In a message published on multiple social media platforms, Djokovic wrote: “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. 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!”

Djokovic has maintained his refusal to be vaccinated whilst also seeking to distance himself from the so-called anti-vax movement.

The former World No 1 adheres to a health and wellness regimen that he has credited with his success on the ATP Tour, and is understood to have taken advice from his own medical team not to take the vaccine.

All the way back in April 2020, Djokovic nailed his colours to the mast regarding a vaccine mandate for the ATP Tour, insisting he would not be forced into getting vaccinated.

“Personally, I am opposed to a vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said in an Instagram Q&A.

In the end the ATP Tour has imposed no such restrictions on players, however, Djokovic has been unable to find a way into the United States due to the travel restrictions imposed by the US government and the CDC.

The US Open had initially stated that they would require all spectators to produce proof of vaccination to enter but they have since dropped that requirement in line with the updated New York State and New York City COVID-19 guidelines.

Advice on reads: “Our goal is to ensure that your 2022 experience is both enjoyable and safe. We will be continuing to follow CDC, New York State and New York City COVID related guidelines and advice from our medical consultants to establish and implement health and safety protocols for the 2022 US Open.

“Please be aware that, based on recent guidance from local governmental authorities, at this time, ticket holders will no longer be required to show proof of COVID vaccination for admission into the US Open.”

With Alexander Zverev out injured, the latest development in the Djokovic saga has now stripped the Major of a second top-ten player and arguably the tournament favourite.

The door is open for Rafael Nadal to steal a march on Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam race, but these tribulations are likely to spur the Serbian on in the quest to be considered the Greatest of all time and he remains the smart bet to end his career at the very top of the list that matters.