Novak Djokovic is hopeful he can play at the US Open

Novak Djokovic is hopeful he can play at the US Open despite strict entry rules on the unvaccinated but Serbian star won’t risk a repeat of Australian Open deportation furore by travelling to New York without permission

  • Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic won’t play at the US Open next month as it stands
  • United States only allows unvaccinated citizens to gain entry to the country
  • Djokovic is hopeful of playing in New York but won’t head there without approval
  • He was booted out of Australia in January after falling foul of strict Covid rules 
  • Serbian has just won his 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon – one short of record 

Novak Djokovic is hopeful of competing in the US Open next month but won’t risk a repeat of the deportation furore he went through in Australia.

The unvaccinated tennis star was booted out of Australia ahead of the Melbourne Slam back in January after the government decided he’d broken strict Covid-19 regulations and he failed with a legal challenge.

And Djokovic, who has just won his 21st career Slam at Wimbledon, risks a repeat ahead of Flushing Meadows with the United States blocking unvaccinated non-citizens from entering the country.

Novak Djokovic – who won Wimbledon last week – is hopeful of playing at the US Open

The unvaccinated tennis player was turfed out of Australia ahead of the Slam there in January

As he opened a tennis complex in the Bosnian town of Visoko, Djokovic said: ‘I’m not going to go to America if I don’t have permission, so the Australian saga for me was not pleasant at all.

‘People still think I forced my way to Australia and tried to come in with no papers, permission or exemption – it is not true.

‘That was proven in the court cases, so I would never go into a country where I didn’t have permission to travel.

‘I would love to come back to Australia. I love Australia, I had my best Grand Slam results in that country.

‘Hopefully I can be there in January because I want to be there, and I also want to be in New York.

‘I want to be in America and everywhere I can possibly play.’

Djokovic said he hoped to play the US Open in New York but isn’t guaranteed entry 

He was speaking as he opened a regional tennis centre in the Bosnian town of Visoko

Under Australian rules, those who have been deported are not allowed back into the country for three years, putting in doubt his future participation in a Slam he has won nine times.

But there was a glimmer of hope his ban could be lifted because the new Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, is a big tennis fan.

Djokovic, 35, gave no indication he intends to reverse his anti-vax position in order to play in New York.

‘I am a professional tennis player, I don’t go into politics or anything else because that doesn’t interest me,’ he said.

Djokovic could see his three-year ban from entering Australia lifted ahead of next year 

The Serbian star’s visa was cancelled in January 2022, preventing him from taking part then

‘I have my stance and I am a proponent for freedom to choose what is best for you. I respect everything and everybody, and I expect people to at least respect my decision.

‘If I have permission, I’ll be there. If I don’t, I won’t be there – it’s not the end of the world.’

Djokovic beat Nick Kyrgios over four sets last Sunday to win Wimbledon for the seventh time and move within one of Rafael Nadal’s record 22 Slam titles.

He received a hero’s reception from thousands of fans outside the city hall in Belgrade, the Serbian capital, upon his return on Monday, with his latest achievement marked with a concert and fireworks display.

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