Novak Djokovic faces a nervous wait to see if he will miss this year’s US Open due to his unvaccinated status, despite fans’ renewed hopes he will be allowed to enter the United States.
Djokovic has pulled out of the upcoming Cincinnati Masters (branded as the Western & Southern Open) – and has just two weeks until the draw for the US Open.
The Serbian star, who won Wimbledon but missed the Australian Open in a row over vaccination, is not allowed to compete in the United States due to a CDC policy banning non-US citizens who are unvaccinated from entering the country.
But as American COVID policy changes, tennis fans hope that ban against unvaccinated entrants into the country can be lifted as well.
The United States Tennis Association does not have a ban against Djokovic or those like him in place, rather the White House has prevented foreign nationals of all occupations who are unvaccinated from entering the country.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the White House, State Department, the CDC, and the Department of Homeland Security and is awaiting an official statement.
Novak Djokovic will not compete in Cincinnati this week, and is likely out of the US Open
After winning Wimbledon, Djokovic said he wouldn’t get the jab, but wants to play in New York
WHAT IS THE CDC CHANGING FOR THE UNVACCINATED?
COVID-19 prevention guidance set by the CDC no longer differentiates on whether people are up-to-date on their vaccinations.
This means unvaccinated people are now not required to quarantine after exposure. Instead, they will be asked to wear masks for 10 days and get tested five days after the event.
In the future, the CDC says it ‘will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for healthcare settings, congregate settings at higher risk of transmission, and travel,’ with Thursday’s update.
Djokovic’s supporters have latched on to this detail in the hope he will be able to play at Flushing Meadows.
But on Thursday the CDC changed their COVID prevention guidance to no longer differentiate between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people in the United States no longer have to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus.
This could impact travel guidance, as the CDC says it ‘will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for healthcare settings, congregate settings at higher risk of transmission, and travel.’
If the guidance is lifted, he will be allowed to compete in New York City, after mayor Eric Adams lifted a ban on unvaccinated athletes playing back in March.
Last week, Djokovic posted on Twitter that he was still preparing to compete at the upcoming tournament in Flushing, Queens.
‘I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to US. Fingers crossed!,’ Djokovic posted.
While Djokovic may have hope, those in his camp are not as optimistic.
Speaking to Italian paper La Repubblica, coach Goran Ivanisevic said, ‘I have zero hope that [Joe] Biden will change the rules before the tournament starts.’
Djokovic has missed four Masters 1000 events and the Australian Open by choosing to stay unvaccinated.
After defeating Nick Kyrgios at this year’s Wimbledon in four sets, Djokovic said he ‘would love’ to compete in the US Open, but later added, ‘I’m not planning to get vaccinated.’
Last week, his wife slammed Racquet Magazine for questioning her husband’s decision to continue entering tournaments in countries he is barred from traveling to due to Covid-19 regulations.
Racquet Magazine responded to the news Djokovic had pulled out of the Montreal Open by tweeting: ‘Dunno why this guy keeps entering tournaments hoping they’ll change their rules for him.’
His wife, Jelena, 36, was quick to come to his defense as she took aim at the publication as she quote tweeted: ‘Is this a real, international tennis magazine?! Wow.’
If he can compete, Djokovic will look to win his first US Open title since 2018
Tennis star Djokovic’s wife, Jelena (left) came to the tennis star’s defense on Twitter
The magazine responded, claiming they would ‘love’ to see the Serbian play in New York at the US Open later this month.
‘Hi Jelena! We’d love to see your husband play in New York, along with the rest of the tennis world,’ it posted. ‘Hopefully he’ll decide he can follow the rules.’
Jelena was quick to hit back with the specifics, questioning the logic behind the original tweet.
‘Hi! Based on tennis rules and ranking – Novak’s entry in the tournament was automatic,’ she said. ‘So, what was the logic behind your tweet?’
Djokovic missed the Australian Open this year due to his refusal to take the Covid vaccine. He was booted out of Melbourne after the Australian government cancelled his visa for the second time following a legal battle – and banned him from entering the country for another three years.
He was not prevented from playing at this year’s French Open, where he was knocked out by Rafael Nadal, and then won Wimbledon to claim his 21st Grand Slam title.
Djokovic has won the title at Flushing Meadows three times, with the most recent coming in 2018, defeating Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets.
Humiliated Djokovic touched down in Belgrade, Serbia, after he and his entourage were deported from Australia following a battle over the unvaccinated tennis star’s visa