Novak Djokovic won a fourth straight Wimbledon title on Sunday, but as things stand, the 21-time Grand Slam winner will not compete at the upcoming US Open.
Djokovic’s vaccination status has had much attention over the last few months, with the Serbian deported from Australia before the first Grand Slam of the year.
Fuelled by frustration, the then-world No. 1 turned his focus to Roland-Garros, going in as the hot favourite despite Rafael Nadal’s unlikely win in Melbourne in the preceding Slam.
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Ironically, it was Nadal who dumped Djokovic out of the French Open in May, defeating the no. 1 seed in four sets, 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6.
Having fallen to No. 3 in the world after a premature exit in Paris, Djokovic arrived at Wimbledon with a seventh SW19 title in his sights.
And whilst not playing his best tennis until the final, he would do just that: defeating Nick Kyrgios in the showpiece in four sets, and coming through tricky tests in the previous two rounds – he would come back from two sets down to defeat Italian starlet Jannik Sinner in a thriller, before beating Britain’s ninth seed Cameron Norrie in the semi-finals after an initial first-set scare.
Will Djokovic play the US Open? What are the rules?
Djokovic himself is still not vaccinated, and has confirmed that is unlikely to change.
The United States government legislate that all those of non-US citizenship coming into the country must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and that is still not the case with Djokovic.
Hence, the Serb would not be able to compete at Flushing Meadows.
Djokovic himself is still unsure about his current position, speaking to ESPN: “I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated.
“The only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card – or whatever you call it – to enter the United States.
“I don’t know. I don’t think exemption is realistically possible. If that is a possibility, I don’t know what the exemption would be about.”
Djokovic did emphasise his desire to compete in New York, saying: “I’ll wait for some good news from the USA because I would really love to go there.
“That would be probably the next big tournament, the next big swing; playing a tournament or two before the US Open. If that doesn’t happen, then I have to see what the schedule will look like.”
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What has Djokovic said about his status? Why is he not vaccinated?
Speaking to the BBC back in February, Djokovic said: “I was never against vaccination.
“But I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body.”
He has previously asked whether he would be willing to miss out on future tournaments that required vaccination.
Djokovic replied that he would, explaining: “The principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I’m trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can.”
When would he realistically be able to play in another Grand Slam, then?
In Australia, those who have been deported are not allowed to return to the country for three years after losing the visa battle which hinged on his vaccination status. So, at this stage, it looks like the French Open.
Where is Djokovic in the world rankings?
Despite his victory at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic will find himself sliding down the ATP rankings instead of up them.
Sat at world No. 3 going into the grass-court season, the Serbian has lost out on 2,000 points and as such, will be overtaken by Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz, all of whom competed in Australia and in Paris.
This stems from the International Tennis Federation’s decision to strip the All England Club of its ranking points for its stance on Russian and Belarusian competitors, with Wimbledon banning their taking-part in this year’s Championships.
Djokovic thus finds himself at seventh in the ATP rankings, on 4,770 points, with Daniil Medvedev, who couldn’t play at Wimbledon, sitting atop the table on 7,775.
Should he not compete in New York City, Djokovic would lose out on a potential 2,000 points.
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