Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who last competed in the U.S. Open in 2021, is set to return to the tournament in 2023. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
May 2 (UPI) -- Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic's path to the 2023 U.S. Open is now clear after the U.S. government announced it will end COVID-19-related restrictions for international travelers and others
"We are announcing that the administration will end the COVID-19 vaccine requirements for federal employees, federal contractors, and international air travelers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the COVID-19 public health emergency ends," the White House said Monday in a news release.
Djokovic, who remains unvaccinated, hasn't played in the United States since his U.S. Open men's singles final loss to Russian Daniil Medvedev on Sept. 12, 2021, in Flushing, N.Y.
Djokovic missed the 2022 U.S. Open because of his unvaccinated status. He missed the 2022 Australian Open for the same reason.
Djokovic last played all four Grand Slams in the same year in 2021, when he won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. He then lost to Medvedev, ending his quest for a Golden Slam.
He made several attempts to gain a travel exemption from government and tournament officials so he could play in U.S. tournaments, but was denied.
The 22-time Grand Salm champion missed the BNP Paribas Open, held from March 8 to 19 in Indian Wells, Calif., because of the current U.S. international travel rules. He missed the Miami Open, held from March 22 to April 2, for the same reason.
The top player in the ATP Tour singles rankings started his 2023 clay court campaign last month at the Monte Carlo Masters. He then participated in the 2023 Srpska Open, held from April 17 to 23 in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Djokovic withdrew from the Madrid Open on April 22 because of an elbow injury. The clay court season will continue through the 2023 French Open. The second Grand Slam of the tennis season will be held from May 28 to June 11 at Roland Garros in Paris.
Djokovic is a two-time French Open singles champion.
Novak Djokovic looks up and smiles after a long point while playing in the U.S. Open finals against Roger Federer in New York City on September 9, 2007. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo