Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next week’s hard-court tournament in Cincinnati because he has not received any COVID-19 vaccine and is therefore not allowed to travel to the United States.
It’s also why Djokovic shouldn’t be able to take part in the US Open, the last Grand Slam tournament of the year, which starts in New York on August 29.
Djokovic is a 35-year-old Serbian who has 21 major championships, one behind Rafael Nadal for the men’s record. Djokovic said he will not get vaccinated against the disease caused by the coronavirus, even if it prevents him from playing in some tournaments.
He missed the Australian Open in January after being kicked out of that country and had to miss two events in the United States earlier this year, as well as a tournament in Montreal this week.
Unvaccinated foreign citizens cannot currently travel to Canada or the United States; the Cincinnati tournament press release announcing Djokovic’s withdrawal cited travel restrictions.
Djokovic said he still held out hope that he could make the US Open, but that would require a change in government policy, which the US Tennis Association said it would adhere to.
Djokovic is a three-time US Open champion and was runner-up last year behind Daniil Medvedev.
Other men who retired from the court in Cincinnati include defending champion Alexander Zverev, the 2020 US Open runner-up tore ankle ligaments at the French Open in June and injured players Gael Monfils, Reilly Opelka, Oscar Otte and Dominic Thiem. Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins withdrew from the women’s draw due to a neck injury, while three-time major champion Angelique Kerber changed her schedule and opted not to compete in Cincinnati.
Serena Williams is listed on the pitch for what is expected to be one of her last tour appearances.
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