Wimbledon champ Djokovic doesn't expect to play at U.S. Open due to COVID-19 rules

Serbian Novak Djokovic plays a backhand to Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon 2022 men's singles final Sunday in London. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
1 of 5 | Serbian Novak Djokovic plays a backhand to Australian Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon 2022 men's singles final Sunday in London. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

July 11 (UPI) -- Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is still unvaccinated and says he doesn't expect to play at the U.S. Open later this summer unless the United States changes its COVID-19 requirements for foreign travelers.

Djokovic spoke to reporters about his plans after his title match triumph over Australian Nick Kyrgios on Sunday at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. The U.S. Open, which will run from Aug. 29 through Sept. 11, is the final Grand Slam of the tennis season.


For more than a year, the United States has required all foreign travelers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for entry. Djokovic is not vaccinated, which was what prevented him from competing at the Australian Open in January.

"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," Djokovic said.

"I don't know. I don't think exemption is realistically possible. If that is possibility, I don't know what the exemption would be about. I don't have my chances there. It's whether or not they remove this in time for me to get to the United States."


Djokovic last won the U.S. Open in 2018. He lost to Daniil Medvedev of Russia in last year's U.S. Open final, costing him a calendar-year Grand Slam -- winning all four major tournaments in a calendar year. No men's player has won the calendar slam since Australia's Rod Laver in 1969.

In January, the Serbian was deported from Australia just before the Australian Open due to COVID-19 regulations in that country.

Djokovic said Sunday that he is now "on vacation" and will wait for potential changes to U.S. travel regulations.

"Whether or not I'm playing any tournament soon, I'll definitely be resting for the next couple weeks because it has been quite an exhausting and demanding period for me the last few months," Djokovic said.

"A lot of tennis, which I was very happy about. I got what I wanted here [at Wimbledon].

"Then I'll wait hopefully for some good news from the United States. I would really love to go there. That would be probably the next big tournament, the next big swing, playing a tournament or two before the U.S. Open and the U.S. Open. If that doesn't happen, then I have to see what the schedule will look like."


Djokovic could also miss the Australian Open again due to his deportation, and would need a special exemption to play in the first Grand Slam of 2023. He can't be granted another Australian visa for another three years, due to the country's immigration policies, unless officials grant him a waiver.

Moments from Wimbledon 2022

Serbian Novak Djokovic kisses the Wimbledon trophy after victory against Australian Nick Kyrgios at the Wimbledon championships in London on July 10. It is his seventh Wimbledon championship title. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

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