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Defending Champion Daniil Medvedev says he wishes Novak Djokovic had been allowed to play in the tournament his year.

Medvedev beat Djokovic in last season’s final as he ruined the Serbian’s hopes of completing a historic Calendar Grand Slam.

There is no chance of a repeat match-up this year, though, with Djokovic missing as he is unable to enter the country as an unvaccinated foreigner. Medvedev had previously spoken out in support of Djokovic, and he has reiterated that once again on the eve of the tournament.

Asked about Novak Djokovic missing the US Open, Medvedev said: "I mean, I wish he could play here.

“We saw it in Wimbledon. He didn't play many tournaments this year. He came there, he won,"

"The rivalry against Rafa is really heating up in a way. 22, 21 - a joke of a number. It's a pity he's not here. It would be a great story I think for tennis.”

Despite wishing Djokovic was able to play, Medvedev says he understands the other side of the argument too.

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"It's American government rule,” he said. “Completely understandable, also.”

Djokovic’s absence should at least help Daniil Medvedev defend the US Open title he won last year. It was his maiden major, although he also lost his first Grand Slam final there in 2019 against Rafael Nadal.

Novak DJokovic backd by Daniil Medvedev in US Open row

That night in 2019, although ending in disappointment, appears to have started of a special relationship between the Russian and the US Open – and it is one he is hoping to continue this year.

"When I look back at US Open nights, every night starting 2019, where I got booed for a reason, it was not like there was no reason… All these moments, and especially the final against Rafa, give me goose bumps because it was something special when I'm never going to forget.”

Medvedev will start his title defence against Stefan Kozlov in the first round. 

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