Novak Djokovic's wife Jelena has launched a fierce defence of her husband on social media, after hitting out at the US Open drama around the 21-time grand slam champion.
Having already missed the Australian Open earlier this year over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Djokovic stands to miss a second grand slam with the US government unlikely to allow the 34-year-old entry into the country.
At it stands, non-citizens who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 are not permitted to enter the United States, with Djokovic repeatedly stating that he will not get the jabs.
Barring a personal intervention from US president Joe Biden, it appears unlikely legislators will be make any changes to existing border arrangements.
Despite his hopes of competing in the US dwindling, Djokovic remains on the entry lists for both the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open.
Djokovic was recently forced to withdraw from the ATP tournament in Montreal after being denied entry into Canada because of his vaccination status.
It prompted tennis publication Racquet Magazine to call out the 21-time major winner on social media, and question why he hasn't already withdrawn from the US tournaments if he's refusing to get vaccinated.
“Dunno why this guy keeps entering tournaments hoping they’ll change their rules for him,” the publication wrote.
“Like the whole thing with taking a stand is that you have to actually take the stand.”
The 34-year-old's wife Jelena hit back by questioning whether it was a legitimate tennis magazine, before expressing her disbelief at the statement.
“Is this a real, international tennis magazine?! @atptour @Nicarzani. Wow,” she wrote.
— Jelena Djokovic (@jelenadjokovic) August 5, 2022
Racquet Magazine responded: “Hi Jelena! We’d love to see your husband play in New York, along with the rest of the tennis world. Hopefully he’ll decide he can follow the rules.”
The fiery back-and-forth continued as Jelena tried to defend her husband by pointing out that his world ranking meant he was automatically entered into ATP tournaments.
“Hi! Based on tennis rules and ranking – Novak’s entry in the tournament was automatic. So, what was the logic behind your tweet?”
Racquet Magazine: “As of right now, he’s also automatically entered into Cincy and the USO — is he gonna withdraw from them now knowing he doesn’t want to follow rules or wait until the last minute like he’s just done for Montreal? Or maybe after the draw is made like he did in Indian Wells?
“Not trying to disrupt your Friday night, but since you came our way, it’d be great to get him to take his stand by withdrawing from those events now so the whole tennis world isn’t talking about him not getting a shot for weeks to come. A stand is only a stand if one takes it.”
Determined to have the last word, Jelena insisted that her husband deserved more respect as one of the greatest players the sport has ever seen, and Racquet Magazine was out of line for attacking him.
“His most important stand is to be a tennis champion. And he took it. I mean, a stand is a stand. Given that you are a tennis magazine- maybe focus on that in the weeks to come? Take a stand. Be what you are meant to be. A tennis magazine that writes about tennis.”
Coach has 'zero hope' Novak Djokovic will compete at US Open
Djokovic was recently included in the entry list for the August 29-September 11 grand slam in New York.
"I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to US," Djokovic said in a post on Instagram along with a video of him practising.
More than 43,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to work with the US government to allow 21-times major champion Djokovic to compete in the US Open.
The Serbian said he was prepared to miss grand slam tournaments rather than take the Covid-19 vaccine after his deportation from Melbourne in January.
His coach Goran Ivanisevic admitted recently that he has "zero hope" of Djokovic being able to compete in the United States, claiming there is "too much politics in sport".
“There is always hope,” Ivanisevic said.
“Novak will do everything to be there, maybe he will get a special visa.
“Personally, I have zero hope that Biden will change the rules before the tournament starts.
“For me it is all nonsense and bull****.
“If you are vaccinated but positive you can enter the United States. If you are not vaccinated but negative, you are banned. There is too much politics in sports.”
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