Though no official announcement has been made, Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic announced Thursday on Twitter he won't travel to the United States to play in the U.S. Open this year. It will be the second major tournament he'll miss because of his vaccination status.
Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open. 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! 👋🏼
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) August 25, 2022
This decision comes months after speculation revolving around Djokovic's playing status in the U.S. Djokovic remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, which bars him from entry into certain countries, including the U.S. Djokovic claims he is not against vaccines but wants people to have the freedom to choose whether they get vaccinated and that choice shouldn't be decided by governments. More than 6.5 million people have died from COVID-19 since 2020, according to WHO.
Djokovic, who said he was willing to miss tournaments rather than get vaccinated, withdrew from the Canadian Open earlier this month and missed the Australian Open earlier this year because of his vaccination status.
The U.S. Open said in a statement earlier this year it wouldn't let players who violated U.S. travel restrictions compete in the event. Djokovic posted a training video on July 30 and wrote that he was "preparing as if" he will be allowed to compete in the tournament, but no such change in policy occurred.
Norwegian tennis star Casper Rudd recently said it's sad Djokovic can't play but, as a competitor, Rudd isn't "crying about it."
"I think it’s sad that politics will get in his way, or these rules will get in his way," Rudd told Eurosport. "... This is a special case because of politics, and I don’t think you should mix politics and sport because it makes a bad outcome. For him it’s so unfortunate. He won Wimbledon but didn’t win points for it."
Djokovic is a three-time U.S. Open champion who last won in 2018. He won his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title this past June.
With Djokovic out of the picture, the updated odds from BetMGM favor Russian star Daniil Medvedev (+225) to win the U.S. Open. Rafael Nadal (+400) and Carlos Alvarez (+450) also have good odds to win.