Novak Djokovic coach's telling confession amid US Open furore

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Pictured left to right, tennis star Novak Djokovic and his coach Goran Ivanisevic.
Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic has described the Serb's year as 'unfair' in 2022. Pic: Getty

Novak Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic says his player is "still hungry" for more success, despite conceding that he's endured an "unfair year" in 2022.

The 21-time grand slam champion was deported from Melbourne during the Australian Open in January, after a now infamous battle with the Australian government.

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He was knocked out in the French Open quarter-finals by eventual champion Rafael Nadal, before claiming his 21st major title at Wimbledon earlier this month.

However, Djokovic's hopes of competing at the US Open - and going level with Nadal on 22 grand slam titles - appear to be dashed due to his vaccination status.

US Open officials have stated they will not push for an exemption to allow Djokovic to compete, unless current border restrictions are relaxed.

"Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men's and women's singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event," it read.

"The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government's position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens."

Djokovic admitted after Wimbledon that he had most likely played his last grand slam of 2022 after confirming that he would not be getting vaccinated in order to play tennis.

"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."

Novak Djokovic has endured a 'difficult' 2022

Ivanisevic - who has been Djokovic's full-time coach since 2019 - laments the situation the Serb has found himself in.

“He has had a difficult, unfair year, many bad things happened to him,” Ivanisevic told Sport Klub.

“He deserved that Wimbledon, in the final there were two of the world’s best tennis players on grass, he and Nick Kyrgios.

Seen here, Serbia's Novak Djokovic posing with the trophy after winning the 2022 Wimbledon men's singles title.
Serbia's Novak Djokovic poses with the trophy after winning the 2022 Wimbledon men's singles title. Pic: Getty

“It is an honour and a pleasure [to coach Djokovic] – a man who has conquered everything and is still hungry and eager for success.”

The Croatian coach said he felt sorry that his player was likely being denied the chance to compete in another grand slam tournament.

"I don’t know about the US Open [entry], it’s difficult,” Ivanisevic told Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija.

“I am more optimistic that I will get an invitation and win Umag than that they will let him to the US Open.

“They don’t ask for vaccination there, but as a country, they are closed to the unvaccinated, for now, he can’t enter the country.

"I respect and appreciate him, he made a decision that he will not change. When they proclaim him to be a leader, to have a bad influence on people, that is wrong.

"He doesn’t want to get vaccinated, he doesn’t want to introduce it into his body, and he never told others not to get vaccinated. I respect and support his decision."

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