Novak Djokovic told to live with US Open ‘consequences’ despite ‘ridiculous’ expectations

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Novak Djokovic has been told he must live with the ‘consequences’ of his choices as the Serb appears set to miss the US Open. Djokovic is hoping a sudden change to rules will allow him to enter the United States and compete in the Flushing Meadows tournament, which he has won on three occasions. 

The United States Government recently introduced new measures set to relax Covid restrictions regarding time spent in quarantine and social distancing. It suggested that Djokovic – the 21-time Grand Slam champion – had a chance of competing in the fourth and final major tournament of the year.

Djokovic needs the government to further alter their rules if he is to play in the US Open. Under current rules, the Serb still cannot play in the Grand Slam – and after his triumph at Wimbledon, Djokovic conceded he did not feel confident about his chances of competing in New York.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced they would be relaxing regulations surrounding requirements to enter the country, as well as quarantine. These changes are related to US citizens only, though – so Djokovic will miss out unless he receives a special exemption like the one he applied for ahead of the Australian Open in January, which proved to be famously ill-fated. 

Djokovic – who has won the US Open on three occasions – has already missed out on preparation tournaments in North America, including in Montreal and Cincinnati. Former tennis star Andy Roddick admitted the situation was ‘unfortunate’ but insisted Djokovic must live with his choice to remain unvaccinated. 

“I think it’s unfortunate that he can’t play,” the 2003 US Open champion told the New York Post. “But the writing has been on the wall, and he’s making a choice. 

“I think we all deal with the consequences of our given choice. I think a tournament would be better for having him in it. But I also don’t know that it’s the U.S. Open or the USTA’s place to kind of override government policy. 

“I think it’s ridiculous for anyone in general fandom to expect that of a tennis tournament.”

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Djokovic’s stance against taking the vaccine has been incredibly public, and it all came to a head when he was deported from Australia in January after his visa documentation was deemed to be incorrect by local authorities. His status has meant the Serb has struggled to play in tournaments, but he has continued to train as normal to prepare for tournaments like Wimbledon correctly. 

Barring a sensational turn of events, it appears Djokovic will have to wait for another opportunity to draw level with great rival Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles. The Spaniard could overcome his abdominal injury and extend his record, although he recently pulled out of the Montreal Open while he lost to Borna Coric in Cincinnati. 

The 2022 US Open main draw begins on Monday August 29 and runs for two weeks in New York.

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