Serbian Novak Djokovic is not allowed to travel to the United States because he is an unvaccinated non-citizen. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic withdrew from the 2022 U.S. Open because he is not allowed to travel to the United States under the government's vaccination policy for non-citizens, tournament officials said Thursday.
Main draw play for the 2022 U.S. Open will run from Monday to Sept. 11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. Djokovic will be replaced by a qualifier in the 128-player men's singles field.
"Sadly, I will not be able to travel to New York this time for the U.S. Open," Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, wrote on social media. "Thank you [fans] for your messages of love and support.
"Good luck to my fellow players! I'll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world."
Djokovic missed the 2022 Australian Open because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions. He was allowed to play in the French Open and Wimbledon, where he was men's singles champion, earlier this year.
Djokovic reached the final of the 2021 U.S. Open, where he lost to top-ranked Russian Daniil Medvedev. He posted footage of himself practicing for the hard-court surface of the U.S. Open last month on social media. He said in that post that he was waiting to hear if he would be allowed to compete.
Djokovic also withdrew from the Western & Southern Open last week in Cincinnati and the National Bank Open earlier this month in Canada due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
"Novak is a great champion and it is very unfortunate that he will be unable to compete at the 2022 U.S. Open, as he is unable to enter the country due to the federal government's vaccination policy for non-U.S. citizens," U.S. Open tournament director Stacey Allaster said in a news release.
"We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 U.S. Open."
Djokovic, the No. 6 player in ATP men's singles rankings, was set to be the No. 5 seed at the U.S. Open. Medvedev is the top men's seed. No. 2 Alexander Zverev of Germany withdrew from the tournament due to injury.
No. 3 Rafael Nadal of Spain, No. 5 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece and No. 7 Casper Ruud of Norway joined Medvedev as Top 5 seeds in the men's singles draw Thursday in Flushing.
No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland, No. 2 Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, No. 3 Maria Sakkari of Greece, No. 4 Paula Badosa of Spain and No. 5 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia are the Top 5 women's singles seeds.