US Open waiting game continues for Novak Djokovic as ‘protocols for players are being evaluated’

Novak Djokovic water break

US Open organisers have issued new health and safety protocols for spectators who want to attend the 2022 hard-court Grand Slam, but there still no official update on the vaccination mandate for players, leaving Novak Djokovic’s participation up in the air just a week before the tournament is due to get underway.

In July, the US Open confirmed that it would respect the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regulations on Covid-19 vaccines for visitors, which at the time stated that all foreigners (both players and spectators) travelling to the US have to be vaccinated upon arrival.

However, the picture has changed since then as the CDC has relaxed its protocols and “unvaccinated people now have the same as vaccinated people”, adding that the “updated guidance is intended to apply to community setting”.

The CDC, though, is yet to update its travel advice, but their website state that the protocols are under review and it appears US Open organisers are awaiting on the CDC before making a final decision when it comes to unvaccinated players travelling from abroad.

Under the frequently asked questions section on US Open Health and Safety, it has the following answer to “will players need to be vaccinated”: “COVID health and safety protocols for players (including any vaccination and/or testing requirements) are being evaluated and will be made at a later date, taking into account guidance from U.S., New York State and New York City governmental and health authorities.”

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As things stand, Djokovic remains unable to enter the United States, but that could just in the coming days, although he and organisers are running out of time with draw set to take place later this week.

Even the protocols spectators travelling from abroad are not cut and dried as the website states that the current regulations are “subject to change in accordance with CDC and/or New York State/City guidelines”.

The new guidelines on the website state: “At this time, ticket holders will not be required to show proof of COVID vaccination for admission into the US Open; however, please not that if you are traveling from abroad to attend the US Open, you must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID vaccine to travel to the United States (this applies to non-U.S. citizens and/or non-U.S. immigrants).

“For more details, please see the: Technical Instructions for Implementing Presidential Proclamation Advancing Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic and CDC’s Associated Order on The foregoing is subject to change in accordance with CDC and/or New York State/City guidelines. We will provide you with updates if there are any changes concerning vaccination status.”

The US Open gets underway on Monday August 29 and 21-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic will be seeded six if he is allowed to play. He finished runner-up to world No 1 Daniil Medvedev at last year’s tournament, when unvaccinated players and spectators were allowed to travel to the United States.