Novak Djokovic may return to this year’s US Open after missing tournament 2022 because the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for foreign air travelers ends next week.
“Novak Djokovic is a great champion, a fan favorite and now that the federal government has lifted its vaccination requirements for international travelers, we look forward to welcoming him back to New York for the 2023 US Open,” said Chris Widmaier , spokesman for the US Tennis Association wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The White House announced Monday that most of the last remaining federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements will disappear on May 11, when the national public health emergency for the coronavirus ends.
The US Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the season, begins in New York in August.
Djokovic, a 35-year-old Serb, has missed several key events – including the 2022 US Open – because he chose not to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Back in April 2020, Djokovic said he was against getting vaccinated for travel. He later said he wouldn’t get the tapes, even if it meant he wasn’t allowed to play in some of his sport’s most important tournaments. He was unable to travel to the United States and missed both last and this year’s Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, California and Miami.
Most famously, Djokovic was expelled from Australia in January 2022 ahead of the Australian Open following a legal saga that led to the revocation of his visa to travel there.
Djokovic was able to travel to that country this January after the pandemic-era restrictions were eased. There he won the Australian Open for his 22nd Grand Slam title, drawing level with rival Rafael Nadal to equal the most man in tennis history.
Djokovic is sitting out this week’s Madrid Open due to an ongoing problem with his surgically repaired right elbow. The next major tennis championship is the French Open, starting May 28 in Paris.