Novak Djokovic included on US Open entry list but USTA to follow federal policy for unvaccinated travelers

Novak Djokovic included on US Open entry list but USTA to follow federal policy for unvaccinated travelers

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Novak Djokovic, who was deported from Australia in January after traveling there unvaccinated for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, was listed on the U.S. Open men’s singles entry list on Wednesday, but a statement from the tournament clarified that participation for players who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 will still be subject to U.S. policy. 

The 21-time Grand Slam champion was on the official list provided by the USTA but only as a formality, as the list includes all players who are eligible based on WTA and ATP rankings as of July 18. 

Novak Djokovic is seen in action against Aljaz Bedene during the French Open on May 27, 2022, in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is seen in action against Aljaz Bedene during the French Open on May 27, 2022, in Paris. (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Djokovic, who has refused to get vaccinated in order to compete in tournaments, is at risk of missing the U.S. Open this year because the United States does not allow unvaccinated non-citizens to enter the country. 

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USTA provided a statement announcing that while the tournament does not have a vaccine mandate, it will adhere to federal policy.

“Per the ITF Grand Slam rulebook, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men’s and women’s singles main-draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event,” the statement read. 

Novak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 17, 2022.

Novak Djokovic prepares to take his seat on a plane to Belgrade, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Jan. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

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“The U.S. Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens.” 

Djokovic missed out on events in California and Miami earlier this season as a result, and can’t compete at the Cincinnati Masters next month. The U.S. Open, which begins Aug. 29, is next on his list. 

Djokovic defeated Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios earlier this month to win Wimbledon – earning his 21st Grand Slam title. After the match, he said he “would love” to enter the U.S. Open, but added: “I’m not planning to get vaccinated.”

Novak Djokovic plays against Aljaz Bedene during the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2022, in Paris, France.

Novak Djokovic plays against Aljaz Bedene during the French Open at Roland Garros on May 27, 2022, in Paris, France. (Antonio Borga/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

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According to the CDC, non-U.S. citizens are required to be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccines to enter the U.S., with certain “limited exceptions.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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