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Liam Broady has taken aim at Novak Djokovic, criticising the former world number one for refusing to withdraw from the US Open.

Djokovic is all but certain to be forced to miss the tournament this year as his decision not to be vaccinated continues to affect his scheduling.

The US Open does not actually have a vaccination mandate, so Djokovic is able to play it. However, he is unable to enter the country as an unvaccinated foreigner, meaning he won't be able to appear regardless.

However, that could all change should there be a last minute change of policy from the American government, and Djokovic is preparing for the US Open as normal in the hope of a last-minute reprieve.

That, though, has a knock-on effect on players outside of the draw, as late withdrawals are replaced by a Lucky Loser from qualifying, not on ranking, meaning Djokovic’s decision has infuriated Liam Broady.

“There should be a rule against late withdrawals from slams when you know you aren’t going to play,” Broady said via his Twitter account.

“Really tough on number one seeds in slam qualifying seeing players they know aren’t playing on the main draw list but still having to go through qualifying.”

One Twitter user replied telling the Brit that the simplest solution is to simply improve his ranking, but Broady wasn’t having any of that either.

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“I actually think it’s insane that people's response is ‘get your ranking up,’” he said. “When the person who is [seeded] one in qualies is the highest ranked but a Lucky Loser of any ranking could then take the place of the late withdrawal? Where’s your logic people.”

Author’s comment: Liam Broady’s frustration is completely understandable, especially given the potentially career-changing paydays of Grand Slams for lower-ranked players.

Novak Djokovic at 2021 US Open

However, the fact is – cold as it may sound – that Novak Djokovic has earned the right to be in the US Open main draw, even if it’s borne of hope more than anything else, and Broady and the rest of the qualifiers haven’t.

Even if we just take Djokovic’s name, and the contentious vaccination element, out of it for a moment, if a top player is injured we surely want them to be given every chance of making the tournament? Is this any different?

Ultimately, Novak Djokovic is well within his rights to wait until the last minute – and there are plenty who believe it is he who is the victim of the biggest injustice of all here. 

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