Novak Djokovic has hit out at the US over what he claims are double standards over Covid-19 vaccination, declaring ‘I don’t see the logic’ behind a ban on unvaccinated foreigners.
Having been deported from Australia in January over his anti-vaccination stance, costing him the chance of claiming yet another Australian Open title, Djokovic is hoping to compete in the US Open in New York later this year.
Unvaccinated American players will be allowed to compete – but current US laws prohibit foreigners from entering the country if they are unvaccinated.
“No unvaccinated people can enter the USA as of this moment,” said the 35-year-old. “I did hear unofficially that some people got away with it, some people who are not ‘famous’, but I would never even try to go to the USA if it is not allowed.
“Some people think that I made that mistake in Australia, but it was the contrary in fact – I had the exemption etc, let’s not go over the same story again.
“Bottom line is: if I am told that I cannot go, I won’t go, I would never put myself in such a position. Even if I get in, they would see me on TV playing tennis and pick me up!”
He thanked polarising rival Tennys Sandgren for his ongoing support, with the American a high-profile unvaccinated player.
“On a more serious note, I have been texting with Tennys Sandgren a few days ago. I wanted to thank him for the public support he has given me in this situation. What he said makes total sense – if unvaccinated players are not allowed to compete at the US Open, then it should be the case for everyone.
“I don’t see the medical logic behind it, that Tennys can play because he is a citizen of the USA, and I cannot. If I had a US passport or a green card, I would be able to play. Maybe there is a political logic behind it – not medical – but I would rather not get into that and you can understand why.”
Djokovic beat Australian 79th-ranked Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round at Wimbledon, and emphasised that the current tourney is his priority, as he next faces fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic for a place in the last 16.
“Grand Slams are tournaments that are my priority at this stage of my career and of course I want to play in New York,” he added. “On the other hand, if I do not get a chance to do so, it is not the end of the world, we will look ahead. But right now, I am completely focused on Wimbledon.”
Djokovic is hoping to join Pete Sampras as a seven-time Wimbledon champion.