Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic Officially Out Of U.S. Open


Tennis star Novak Djokovic’s refusal to receive the Covid-19 vaccine continues to stand in the way of his pursuit of the all-time Grand Slam record, as he said in a tweet Thursday he won’t be able to enter the U.S. for next week’s U.S. Open.

Key Facts

Djokovic’s exclusion from the event was long expected, as U.S. rules require foreign nationals entering the U.S. to be vaccinated against Covid, though a loosening of restrictions for unvaccinated Americans announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month inspired a brief moment of hope for Djokovic’s U.S. Open prospects.

The world No. 6 Djokovic was barred from the Australian Open in January in a messy saga that resulted in his deportation from Australia over Djokovic’s controversial medical exemption to the country’s Covid vaccine requirement.

Djokovic’s 21 Grand Slam titles trail only all-time leader Rafael Nadal, who will vie for his 23rd Grand Slam at the U.S. Open.

Crucial Quote

“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open,” Djokovic tweeted Thursday. “See you soon tennis world!”

Key Background

Djokovic has opposed receiving the Covid vaccine since early 2020, and is among the most prominent athletes in the world to not get the jab. Following his deportation ahead of the Australian Open, Djokovic said he is willing to miss future tournaments that require the Covid vaccine. The Serbian native said in June his participation in the U.S. Open is entirely “up to the U.S. government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country,” and confirmed receiving the Covid vaccine was off the table. Djokovic looked in top form at the Grand Slams he’s been able to compete at, winning Wimbledon and falling to Nadal in the French Open quarterfinals.

Chief Critic

ESPN tennis commentator and seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe railed against Djokovic’s exclusion from the U.S. Open on Tuesday, telling reporters: “At this point, in the pandemic, we’re two-and-a-half years in, I think people in all parts of the world know more about it, and the idea that he can’t travel here to play, to me, is a joke.”

Surprising Fact

In June 2020, Djokovic and his wife purchased a majority stake in a mysterious Danish company researching alternative Covid-19 treatments.


Legendary women’s tennis player Serena Williams will retire following the U.S. Open, she announced earlier this month. Williams’ 23 Grand Slam titles are the most in the Open Era.

Further Reading

Djokovic Says He Is Prepared To Miss Future Tournaments Instead Of Getting Covid Shot—But Denies Being Anti-Vax (Forbes)

John McEnroe: U.S. Open Would Be A ‘Joke’ Without Novak Djokovic (Forbes)

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dereksaul/2022/08/25/unvaccinated-novak-djokovic-officially-out-of-us-open/