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Novak Djokovic 'preparing' to compete at US Open despite unvaccinated status

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Novak Djokovic, fresh off his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title, doesn't yet know if he can compete in the US Open in late August. Currently, he isn't allowed to travel to the United States unless he can provide he's fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and Djokovic remains unvaccinated.

But the Serbian tennis star said he is "preparing as if" he will eventually be allowed to compete in the tournament he's won twice since 2018.

"Fingers crossed!" Djokovic wrote in an Instagram post on Saturday.

Following his victory over Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon in June, Djokovic said he "would love to go to the States" to play in the US Open but that it's "not possible" because he still isn't vaccinated. Djokovic added that he still refuses to get the shots and that it's up to the U.S. government to change its rules if he is to play in the tournament.

“There is not much I can do anymore," he added in June. "I mean, it’s really up to the U.S. government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country."

Djokovic has already said in the past he's willing to miss tournaments rather than get vaccinated, and he already skipped the Indian Wells Masters and the Miami Open this year. He was also deported from Australia in January before the Australian Open after his visa was canceled. Djokovic has asserted in the past that he's not anti-vaccine, but that he wants the freedom to choose whether or not he gets vaccinated against a virus that has killed more than 6.3 million people since 2020, according to WHO.

The US Open already released a statement confirming it would not let Djokovic compete if his vaccination status violated government rules, and there's no indication the U.S. plans to alter its travel rules for unvaccinated individuals. However, an online petition calling for the United States Tennis Association to work with the U.S. government to allow Djokovic to play has already garnered 43,000 signatures as of July 30.

Djokovic lost to Russian tennis player Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 US Open men's singles finals last year.

Novak Djokovic won't get vaccinated but still wants to compete in the U.S. Open. (Photo by Pedja Milosavljevic / AFP) (Photo by PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic won't get vaccinated but still wants to compete in the U.S. Open. (Photo by Pedja Milosavljevic / AFP) (Photo by PEDJA MILOSAVLJEVIC/AFP via Getty Images)
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