There is a petition going around to let Novak Djokovic compete at the U.S. Open, but unless COVID-19 protocols suddenly alter in the United States and Canada, it looks like the Serbian will miss the entire North American hardcourt swing.
Despite his refusal to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Djokovic is still listed as a participant in the ATP 1000 tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati, which serve as warm-ups for the New York Open from August 29 to September 11.
The Grand Slam Rule Book states that all eligible players for the U.S. Open, which does not have a vaccination requirement, are accepted into the main draw based on their ranking 42 days before the event’s first Monday.
The U.S. Open organizers also stated that they will respect the American government’s stance on the entry of unvaccinated foreign nationals even though they do not have a vaccine requirement in place for players.
Former world number one Djokovic revealed last week that he was preparing for the U.S. Open as though he would be permitted to participate in the year’s last Grand Slam despite not having received the required vaccinations. His website has no planned tournaments.
As per Gulfnews, the hashtag #LetNovakPlay was circulating on social media as a slew of Djokovic supporters voiced their support for a player who moved to within one of Spaniard Rafa Nadal’s records of 22 Grand Slam titles after his Wimbledon triumph last month.
“Tennis is not interesting or authentic when the best are not allowed to compete,” one Twitter user wrote while another felt winning a tournament where Djokovic is not able to play is less impressive: “There will be an after every tournament winners name where Novak isn’t allowed to play!” Another post with the same hashtag brought up U.S. President Joe Biden, who is fully vaccinated and twice boosted but tested positive on Saturday just three days after having emerged from isolation after testing positive for the first time on July 21. “Quadruple-vaxxed Biden tested positive for Covid again. But unvaccinated Covid-recovered Djokovic can’t play in U.S. Open. He is apparently too big a risk to the U.S. healthcare system,” the tweet read.
On Tuesday, a petition that was started online a month ago and asks the United States Tennis Association to cooperate with the American government to permit Djokovic to play in the U.S. Open was getting closer to reaching its goal of 50,000 signatures.
The concern regarding Djokovic’s health before a Grand Slam is nothing new, as he was unable to successfully defend his Australian Open title this year due to his deportation from the country in January due to his vaccination status.
Djokovic has previously stated that he would rather forego competing in Grand Slam events than receive the COVID-19 vaccine.