After months of speculation, Novak Djokovic has confirmed he will miss the upcoming US Open which will kick off next week. He tweeted just a few hours before the official draw of the 2022 tournament takes place although he remained coy, without giving full details. But it was expected, given his stance to remain unvaccinated against Covid-19.
Djokovic lived in hope that the US federal government might relax the mandatory Covid-19 vaccination requirement for foreign travelers, but it was in vain.
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
Shortly after confirming he is set to miss the US Open for the first time since 2017, the USTA also released a statement, with the US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster saying, ”Novak is a great champion and it is very unfortunate that he will be unable to compete at the 2022 US Open, as he is unable to enter the country due to the federal government’s vaccination policy for non-U.S.citizens. We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 US Open.”
Djokovic’s withdrawal has opened a lucky loser spot in the main draw.
A tumultuous year for Novak Djokovic Ends without an appearance on US Soil
Djokovic is unlikely to set foot on US soil in 2022 and possibly in the short-term future given his stance to remain unvaccinated. Earlier this year, he was deported from Australia after a failed last-ditch court bid to rescind his canceled visa in a row over his vaccination status. That gave Nadal a window opportunity which he duly capitalized, winning his 21st Major at the Australian Open.
Djokovic returned to action a month later at the Dubai Championships where he reached the quarterfinals in his first tournament of 2022. He was forced to miss the March Masters (the Indian Wells-Miami double). At the time, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) confirmed that regulations were not changing, despite amendments to international COVID regulations in many countries.
The 35-year-old waited for almost five months before tasting that winning feeling, which came at the Rome Masters. He romped to his first title of the season without dropping a set.
However, Djokovic was unable to sustain his best level for over two weeks at Roland Garros as he lost decisively to Nadal in the quarterfinals. Nadal pulled clear of Djokovic and Roger Federer and won his 22nd Grand Slam title beating Casper Ruud in the final.
What next for the former World No. 1?
Djokovic has a 24-5 record for the season and won his 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July. His absence at the US Open effectively ends his bid to tie Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam tally this season, while simultaneously giving his Spanish rival the chance to extend his lead at the top.
Djokovic will resume competition as part of Serbia’s Davis Cup contingent in the Group Stage next month.