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Novak Djokovic urged to fix US Open ban woes despite definitive vaccine statement | Tennis | Sport


Novak Djokovic has been told to get vaccinated so he can play the US Open despite declaring he would not be jabbed purely to compete. Unvaccinated travellers are currently banned from entering the United States, meaning the three-time former champion will not be able to participate in the final Grand Slam of the year unless the rule changes in the next six weeks. And 53 per cent of Express Sport readers think Djokovic should get vaccinated to stop himself from being kept out of the tournament.

Djokovic is currently facing an anxious wait to see whether the US government will relax their Covid travel rules in time for him to compete in the US Open, starting in exactly six weeks. The world No 7 has already been prevented from competing in a Grand Slam over his unvaccinated status at the start of the year in Australia, and could find himself in the same position again.

With time running out for the rules to be relaxed, more than half of Express Sport readers voting in a poll urged the 21-time Major champion to get the Covid vaccine so he could compete in New York, despite the Serb ruling out the option of being jabbed. 53 per cent of 10,283 voters said they thought he should get vaccinated to play in six week’s time.

38 per cent said no while nine per cent said they weren’t sure. But there’s little to no chance that Djokovic will be taking the advice of Express Sport readers anytime soon, as after he won a seventh Wimbledon crowd eight days ago he said: “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.”

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The 35-year-old received what he believed was a medical exemption from the Australian Open to compete in January but found himself stopped at the border when he landed in Melbourne and had his visa cancelled twice before he was ultimately deported. And this time around, Djokovic didn’t want to rely on an exemption.

He continued: “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. I think it’s just whether or not they remove this in time for me to get to USA.”

But the recent Wimbledon winner said he wasn’t feeling the “pressure” to play a certain schedule, and would make decisions once he knew what the final decision would be from the US government. Djokovic added: “I’ll see. I don’t really feel any pressure or necessity to play a certain schedule.

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“And things have changed in the last year, year and a half for me. I achieved that historic No. 1, weeks for No. 1, that I worked for all my life. Now that that’s done and dusted, I prioritise slams and big tournaments really and where I want to play, where I feel good.

“We still have not spoken about the schedule, Goran and I. We have to sit down and see what the news are from States and whether that’s happening or not happening, then take it from there.”



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