Tennis champion Novak Djokovic has thrown in the towel on his bid to compete in the US Open, officially withdrawing from the competition in the final hour.
Despite fans and fellow sporting figures holding out hope that he may compete, Djokovic is not permitted to enter the US given the nation’s current regulations that require non-citizens to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, preventing the recent Wimbledon champion from competing in the US Open.
The 35-year-old took to Twitter on Friday, August 26 to announce he would not be taking part in the competition, mere moments before the official draw for the tournament was made.
“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open,” he said.
“Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again.
“See you soon tennis world!”
Upon hearing of Djokovic’s withdrawal, US Open Tournament Director Stacey Allaster said although it was “unfortunate” the US Open is looking forward to seeing him compete next year.
“Novak is a great champion and it is very unfortunate that he will be unable to compete at the 2022 US Open, as he is unable to enter the country due to the federal government’s vaccination policy for non-U.S.citizens,” Allaster said.
“We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 US Open.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 22, 2022
Djokovic’s views on vaccines and his refusal to follow vaccine mandates have cast a shadow on his recent on-court achievements, which earlier this year saw the world No. 6 forfeit his spot at the 2022 Australian Open after his Australian visa was cancelled.
His vaccine objections and the roadblocks it has caused for his competitive sporting career aside, Djokovic was able to recently secure his Wimbledon men’s final win at Centre Court on Sunday, July 10.
In the highly anticipated final showdown between himself and Nick Kyrgios, Djokovic recorded a 4-6 6-3 6-4 7-6(3) victory over Kyrgios at the All England Club. His Wimbledon win continues Djokovic’s winning streak at the club to 28 matches, with his recent victory marking the first time he has won four consecutive titles at the tournament.
Introducing your 2022 Wimbledon champions (a thread) ????
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 10, 2022
A humbled Djokovic struggled to find the words to convey what winning the Wimbledon finals meant to him and those closest to him.
“I’ve lost words for what this tournament, what this trophy means to me, to my team, to my family. I have said this many times,” he said.