MAILBAG: Has Novak Djokovic been ‘hung out to dry’ by the US Open?

In the first of a weekly mailbag feature, one TennisBuzz reader believes the US Open has failed Novak Djokovic – and tennis fans in general – this year.


Dear TennisBuzz,

I can’t be alone in thinking the US Open have hung Novak Djokovic out to dry by not seeking an exemption for unvaccinated players?

It’s very hard to see who wins from all this other than his rivals, and even they will know any major they win is devalued to at least an extent if Djokovic was not in the draw.

I know we all have our favourite players and all generally love to hate someone, but one thing all tennis fans can surely agree upon is that we all want to see the best players playing each other.

The tournament itself has done nothing but devalue its own product, ripped off its audience, and disrespected arguably the greatest player the sport has ever seen.

It’s the second time in three years that Djokovic has basically been told by the US Open that he is unwelcome to play there (editor’s note: after he was defaulted in 2020) and that cannot be right on any level!

Casandra Green (UK)

Send us your thoughts and questions for use in this feature by emailing mailbag@tennisbuzz.net


Editor’s reply: It’s hard to disagree, Casandra, and if our social media notifications are anything to go by, you are certainly not alone in your views.

Whatever anyone thinks about his views on vaccination, Novak Djokovic won three of the four Grand Slams last season and was the defeated finalist in the other. For him to not even be allowed to defend the points he won in three of them is not a good situation – or a good look – for tennis.

The US Open was the only one Djokovic failed to win last year, but his breaking down into tears under the sheer pressure created by his chase of history in the final was one of the most remarkable sporting moments of 2021 without a doubt.

As you rightly say, the US Open are not exercising a policy of not allowing unvaccinated players to enter the tournament. They are simply not challenging the policy of the US government not to allow unvaccinated foreign nationals into the country. It’s a bit of a kop out.

Novak Djokovic crying under towel at US Open

Ultimately the decision is always going to lie with the US government here, just as the Australian government made the decisions at the start of the year. However, if the US Open have no objection to unvaccinated players taking part in tournament – and the fact Tennys Sandgren is being welcomed shows they do not – then why not seek the exemption and at least try to support Djokovic and any other who is affected?

Whilst we will stop short of suggesting anything untoward in terms of their motivation, the vest least you can say is the tournament organisers have simply passed the buck. Wimbledon were criticised for being overly political in their decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players, and perhaps that has frightened US Open organisers into washing their hands of the decision to avoid a similar backlash?

That looks most likely, but the fact remains that the US Open’s remit is to do all they possibly can to stage the best tennis tournament they possible can for fans to enjoy. At the moment, they are failing in that remit and hopefully a bit of common sense eventually prevails, although there appears to be a serious dearth of that in tennis right now.

Please follow Tennisbuzz on Twitter and Instagram, and you can like us on Facebook by clicking here.

For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.

Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?

Related news

Stay Connected

4,073FansLike
247FollowersFollow
2,652FollowersFollow

Latest Articles

Novak Djokovic: ‘I watched Tim van Rijthoven play and I knew it would be a good fight’

Novak Djokovic says he made sure he learned all he could about Tim van Rijthoven before their Wimbledon clash as he knew he was in for 'a tough matchup'

FEATURE: Three things we wouldn’t change about Wimbledon, and three things we would

FEATURE: With Novak Djokovic saying he has 'heard' that Wimbledon may be about to modify its scheduling policy, here are three things we wouldn't change about Wimbledon, and three things we would.

Roger Federer admits injury ‘has been rough on him’ as he confirms plans for Wimbledon return

Roger Federer says he 'hopes' to have one last Wimbledon in him, but he admits his knee injury has been much worse than he expected.

Daily Drops: Wimbledon punish Tsitsipas and Kyrgios; WTA ace unhappy with ‘serve-bot’

In Daily Drops today: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios learn their Wimbledon punishments, Carlos Alcaraz shows his class, and Heather Watson is annoyed.

Novak Djokovic handed major boost as Australia drop vaccination requirement

If Novak Djokovic wants to play the Australian Open next year, a major obstacle has just been removed from his path.