Novak Djokovic Withdraws From Cincinnati, But There Remains Hope He Could Play The U.S. Open

Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, but there remains some hope he could play in the U.S. Open beginning Aug. 29.

Djokovic, 35, is not currently allowed to travel to the U.S. as an unvaccinated foreigner, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday relaxed many Covid rules in the U.S.

As far as the key issue of travel for Djokovic, that could change “in the coming weeks.”

“In the coming weeks CDC will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for healthcare settings, congregate settings at higher risk of transmission, and travel, with today’s update,” the organization said.

Djokovic, a 21-time Grand Slam champion, has said he won’t get the Covid shots, even if that means he can’t go to certain tournaments. He missed the Australian Open in January after being deported from that country and needed to sit out two events in the United States earlier this year.

He did play in the French Open, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon, which Djokovic won last month for his 21st Grand Slam title — one behind the men’s record of 22 held by Nadal. The Spaniard on Thursday announced he would play Cincinnati despite his recent abdominal injury.

Djokovic recently posted on social media that he was holding out hope of getting the chance to play in the U.S. Open, writing: “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!.”

After beating Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final on July 10, Djokovic said he “would love” to participate in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year at Flushing Meadows, but also acknowledged, “I’m not planning to get vaccinated.”

If he is not allowed to come to the U.S., it’s possible he won’t play another major until the French Open in 2023 because he got his visa revoked for three years in Australia, although that could change.