The US Open starts next week, but men’s betting favorite Novak Djokovic will likely be prevented from competing, barring a last-minute pivot by the player or the US government.
On April 21, the Department of Homeland Security expanded the “temporary Title 19 requirements” requiring non-US citizens entering the US to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and provide proof of vaccination upon request.
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“These requirements were extended in consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and several other federal agencies,” DHS wrote in announcing the extension. “According to the CDC, vaccines remain the most effective public health measure for protecting people from serious illness or death from COVID-19, slowing the transmission of COVID-19, and reducing the chance of new variants of COVID-19 emerging ».
Djokovic looks no more likely to change course. “I don’t plan to get vaccinated, so the only good news I can have is that they take away the mandatory green vaccination card or whatever you call it to enter the United States or an exemption,” Djokovic said last month after his Wimbledon win , his 21st Grand. Slam title. At the end of July, the Serbian tennis ace was posted on his social media channels, “I am preparing as if I will be cleared to compete while waiting to hear if there is room for me to travel to the US. Fingers crossed!”
Djokovic’s fans have received a glimmer of hope that the three-time US Open champion will be able to travel to New York, based on updated COVID-19 guidelines announced by the CDC on August 11. The revised guidance moved away from social distancing and COVID-19 quarantine requirements, while removing any distinction in protocols between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.
“This guidance recognizes that the pandemic is not over, but it also helps us get to a point where COVID-19 is no longer seriously disrupting our daily lives,” said CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti.
The CDC said it will work to “align individual guidance documents” in the coming weeks in relation to “healthcare settings, gathering places with higher risk of transmission, and travel.” But few expect DHS regulations, which have kept Djokovic out of the US for all events this year, to change this week.
“We would of course welcome Novak if the federal guidelines that currently prohibit unvaccinated non-US citizens from entering the country are changed,” a USTA spokesman said via e-mail. Djokovic is believed to be the only player ranked in the ATP top 100 who would not be able to play, based on the guidelines.
Current American players John Isner and Taylor Fritz both questioned the decision not to play Djokovic, with Isner calling it “crazy”. John McEnroe has also endorsed Djokovic. “I think it’s BS,” McEnroe told Fox News this month. “It’s really unfortunate, but these are the rules we really have right now with the government. I don’t agree with that though that’s life right now.” Two-time presidential candidate Steve Forbes echoed McEnroe, calling it “bureaucratic BS” on Twitter.
Djokovic has been at the center of the tennis world on and off the court in 2022. He was deported from Australia in January ahead of the Australian Open when his medical exemption visa was cancelled. Djokovic’s fitness to enter France for the French Open was in doubt, but he was eventually allowed to compete at Roland Garros, where he lost to Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals. His seventh and final event so far this year was his Wimbledon title. The stakes are rising for Djokovic as he competes with Nadal and Roger Federer for the all-time men’s record for Slam wins. Nadal is currently on top with 22.
Djokovic ranked fifth with $28.2 million SporticoThe account of the highest paid tennis players in the world. Although sponsors began to walk away from Djokovic, despite his chance to go down as the greatest player in the history of the sport. This year, UKG and Peugeot both ended their prized ‘patch’ sponsorships, which generate massive exposure for the brands during marquee matches such as Grand Slam finals. His deal with Peugeot began in 2014, with UKG signing Djokovic in 2019. Lacoste remains Djokovic’s most valuable endorsement partner in a deal worth up to $10 million a year, including bonuses for a big year on court .
Djokovic lost to Daniil Medvedev in last year’s US Open final in a stunning upset, ending his bid to become the first man to win a calendar grand slam since Rod Laver in 1969. It was his record sixth loss in an Open final . Caesars sportsbook has Djokovic as the favorite this year at +150, followed by Medvedev at +250.
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