Djokovic’s rejection of the vaccine arranged for his deportation from Australia in January before he could bid for his fourth consecutive Australian Open title. The three-time US Open winner, who last won the event in 2018, was allowed to go to France and England for the next two Grand Slam tournaments this spring and summer. At the French Open in Paris He lost a quarterfinal match in four sets to Rafael Nadal. In England, he won Wimbledon for the seventh time.
When asked by reporters at Wimbledon in late June if he would continue to oppose the vaccination given the potential cost of history-making major championships, Djokovic, who has had Covid-19 twice, simply said: “Yes”.
According to Update of international travel guidelines As announced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, non-US citizens and non-US immigrants must “provide proof of being fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted Covid-19 vaccine before boarding their flight climb to the United States. Only limited exceptions apply.”
The US Open draw, due to be released on Thursday, now looks more favorable for Nadal, who won the Australian Open 2022 and has another career title than Djokovic with a record 22. However, health has been an issue for Nadal, who retired from Wimbledon before his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal muscle injury.
The absence of Djokovic, the sixth-ranked player in the world, takes away some of the luster of the US Open, where Djokovic lost to Daniil Medvedev in last year’s final. John McEnroe, the ESPN tennis analyst and four-time US Open champion, was blunt about Djokovic’s absence before it became official.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” McEnroe told reporters Tuesday. “I think it’s a joke. I would have been vaccinated and gone and played, but he has very strong beliefs and you have to respect that.
“At this point in the pandemic we’re 2½ years old, I think people in all parts of the world know more about this and the idea of him not being able to travel here to play is a joke to me.”
It could well affect Djokovic’s chances of finishing ahead of Nadal and Roger Federer in the all-time Grand Slam singles titles. Federer, who is recovering from knee surgery, is third at 20.
“That’s the question we all want to know the answer to,” McEnroe said. “Of course, Rafa Nadal benefited from that. If a guy has won the Australian Open eight or nine times, you would think [Djokovic blew] a chance in a way.