Novak Djokovic has been granted a boost in his chances of playing at the US Open after the country's health chiefs opted to relax rules on Covid-19.
Djokovic had accepted he was unlikely to play at the US Open after admitting he wouldn't get vaccinated in order to play tennis.
As it stands, US border restrictions require all visitors to be vaccinated to enter the country.
While the Wimbledon champ admitted he would hope for an exemption, he wasn't expecting any special treatment.
However, in a small boost for his chances, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on Thursday it was no longer recommending those not to have been inoculated quarantine upon exposure to the disease.
“Prior infection and vaccination confer some protection against severe illness, and so it really makes the most sense to not differentiate with our guidance or our recommendations based on vaccination status at this time,” said CDC scientist Dr Greta Massetti.
The CDC also said in a statement: “In the coming weeks, the CDC will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for healthcare settings, congregate settings at higher risk of transmission, and travel, with today’s update.”
The announcement moves to grant the unvaccinated the same guidance as vaccinated people within the US.
The governing body also agreed to look at guidelines around travelling within the US.
While unclear whether it meant a review for unvaccinated foreign travellers, the website stated: “CDC is reviewing this page to align with updated guidance.”
Despite the change, the US Open is only two weeks away, which still leaves Djokovic little chance of playing the final grand slam of the year.
Novak Djokovic prepared for US Open bid
Djokovic admitted after Wimbledon he had most likely played his last grand slam match for the year.
The World No.6 hasn't played since the Wimbledon final in July having been denied access into Canada and the US.
"I'm not vaccinated and I'm not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter United States or exemption," Djokovic said.
"I don't know. I don't think exemption is realistically possible. If that is possibility, I don't know what exemption would be about. I don't know. I don't have much answers there."
The update isn't a huge overhaul of the existing guidance, but it does represent an increasing focus on individuals making their own decisions about their level of risk and how they want to mitigate that risk, said Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the @ASTHO. pic.twitter.com/GDEd1twhzi
— NPR (@NPR) August 11, 2022
While Djokovic's comments about the exemption raised eyebrows, US Open officials released a statement this month and clarified that they will not seek special treatment for him.
Despite the setbacks, Djokovic posted a video of himself training hard.
Following lots of comments, the World No.6 thanked his fans for the support and said he was still training in the hope he could play the US Open.
The Serbian star was famously deported from Australia in the lead-up to the Australian Open in January due to his vaccination status.
Novak Djokovic leaves the Marhaba lounge at Melbourne Airport for flight back to Europe. pic.twitter.com/Rg2D1XTTwW
— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) January 16, 2022
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