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Novak Djokovic must get vaccinated to compete in US Open, tournament says

Djokovic is set to miss another Grand Slam.

Day Fourteen: The Championships - Wimbledon 2022 Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Novak Djokovic is poised to miss the US Open next month unless the world No. 7 changes his stance and gets a Covid vaccination. On Wednesday the United States Tennis Association confirmed that it would not seek special compensation for Djokovic, respecting the federal government mandate barring entry for all non-US citizens who have not been vaccinated.

It would mark the second Gram Slam of 2022 that Djokovic has missed due to his vaccination status, along with the Australian Open which caused furor back in January when the reigning champion lied about his vaccination status on border control documents, before being deported and barred from re-entry for three years.

While Djokovic has had recent success, most notably winning Wimbledon earlier this month, even that event had an asterisk attached. World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev was blocked from competing due to the tournament’s ban on Russian athletes, and Medvedev beat Djokovic at the Dubai Open in February to claim the No. 1 spot. In many ways the US Open set the stage to truly settle the “best in the world” argument between the two — now that won’t happen.

Really, when it comes down to it, forgive the pun, but the ball is in Djokovic’s court. He’s remained resolute that he will not receive a Covid vaccination. Citing bad science, conspiracy theory about infertility, he remains hellbent on arguing that he’s immune due to previously contracting the virus. This comes despite mountains of evidence that the Omicron BA.5 variant, currently leading the world in infections, is immune-evasive — which has led to a proliferation in reinfections.

With both the US Open and Djokovic digging in their heels, all signs point to him missing the Grand Slam this year. The tournament is not following in Wimbledon’s footsteps, instead allowing Russian players to compete — effectively making this Medvedev’s tournament to lose in the men’s draw.