Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the US Open after the CDC opted to maintain its vaccination requirement.
Djokovic has been expected to miss out for months, with him confirming earlier this year he would prefer to skip Grand Slams than get vaccinated against Covid-19.
He was deported from Australia in a vaccination row in January and was then unable to enter the United States to compete at Indian Wells and the Miami Masters shortly afterwards.
Djokovic and his camp were hoping that government policy would have changed by the time the US Open had rolled around, but that has not happened.
"Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open,” Djokovic said on Twitter. “Thank you NoleFam 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!"
Novak Djokovic was criticised by Liam Broady earlier this week for not withdrawing earlier and allowing the next best-ranked player to gain automatic entry to the main draw.
His place will instead go to a Lucky Loser since the qualifiers have now begun, but it’s clear Djokovic was giving himself every chance of making the tournament.
Earlier today, the CDC updated their guidelines, but it was not favourable to Djokovic. “Non-US citizen, non-US immigrants: You must show proof of being fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine before you board your flight to the United States,” it said.
It is a decision that has caused division in tennis, with seven-time major winner John McEnroe especially critical of the policy that has forced Djokovic out of the US Open.
“It’s not fair. It’s a joke,” McEnroe said. “I would have had the vaccine and played but he’s got very strong beliefs and you have to respect those.
“At this point in the pandemic, we’re two and a half years in, people in all parts of the world know more about it. The idea he can’t travel here to play is a joke.”
It will be the second Grand Slam this season that Djokovic has missed, while he was not awarded any ranking points for winning Wimbledon either.
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