Novak Djokovic is facing the prospect of being banned from participating in the US Open later in the year. The United States are unlikely to relax their rules with regards to travellers being fully vaccinated to enter the country owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Serbian’s decision not to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has already forced him to miss the Australian Open in January, and the Masters Series events at Indian Wells and Miami. Djokovic was allowed to play the clay court season in Europe, including the French Open in Paris.
The former world number one is expected to compete at SW19 in the Wimbledon Championships, but the hard court tour later in the year remains in doubt. While the rest of the world has eased Covid restrictions, the United States are still requiring all travellers entering the country be fully vaccinated.
The USTA, meanwhile, have taken an opposite stance to the England Lawn Tennis Association in terms of banning Russian and Belarusian players. While the players from the war mongering countries have been banned from SW19, they will be allowed to compete at Flushing Meadows.
Ukrainian former tennis player Sergei Stakhovsky has condemned the decision made by the US Open. He commended Wimbledon and labelled it the “only entity” with a moral code.
“You cannot put a price tag on being able to live with yourself,” tweeted Stakhovsky, who retired from tennis earlier this year and has joined Ukraine’s reserve forces in Kyiv. “I salute Wimbledon, the only entity which has a moral code.”
The USTA has revealed that it will step up its humanitarian efforts by working with players from both the ATP and WTA Tour to promote the “Tennis Plays for Peace” program.
“The USTA will be responding very soon with a broad set of initiatives that will include significant financial assistance and other programs to further support humanitarian relief and the people of Ukraine,” a statement from the USTA said, as quoted on Fox Sports.
Wimbledon’s decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players will see world number one Daniil Medvedev and world number eight Andrey Rublev miss the prestigious event. In the women’s draw, two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka and last year’s semi-finalist Aryna Sabalenka will be absent.