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Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic withdraws from US Open because he isn’t allowed into country

Serbia's Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the third round of the Wimbledon Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 1, 2022, in London (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images/TNS)

Vaccine mandates have denied Novak Djokovic another shot at a tournament amid his continued refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The tennis star announced Thursday that he “will not be able to travel” to New York for the US Open, which begins Monday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens.

“Good luck to my fellow players!” he tweeted. “I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!”

Djokovic, 35, did not go into any specifics, but his status as unvaccinated got him deported from Australia in January ahead of his attempt at a fourth consecutive Australian Open title.

Newly updated requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday mandate that all non-U.S. citizen and non-U.S. immigrants must show proof of being fully vaccinated before entering the United States.

After winning Wimbledon in July, Djokovic said he was training for the U.S. Open in the hopes that the health requirements would be changed in time.

But he has also insisted that he will not get vaccinated, even if it ruins the rest of his playing career.

“That is the price that I’m willing to pay,” he told the BBC in February. “The principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else.”


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