John McEnroe insists it would be ‘ridiculous’ for Novak Djokovic to be denied entry to America for this year’s US Open, with the tennis legend calling for president Joe Biden to relax the country’s Covid-19 vaccine laws.
Djokovic is one of the most high-profile athletes to refuse Covid-19 vaccination, which controversially prevented him from entering Australia for their Open back in January.
The Serbian, who claimed his 21st Grand Slam title by beating Nick Kyrgios in Sunday’s Wimbledon final, remains adamant that he will not be changing his stance before the US Open begins at the end of August.
As a result, he will currently be unable to make the trip Stateside and bid to equal Rafael Nadal’s Grand-Slam record because of the country’s vaccine regulations.
All non-immigrant and foreign travellers to the US are required to show proof of full vaccination, leaving Djokovic in an awkward predicament ahead of the tournament.
Yet McEnroe believes American officials should allow the world No 2 to enter regardless of his vaccination status, urging them to find ‘a way around this’.
‘These politicians are getting in the way too much – they did it in Australia,’ he said.
‘Let the guy come in and play in the US. I mean come on. This is ridiculous. You can agree to be tested. There’s got to be a way around this.’
Djokovic is hoping for McEnroe’s advice to be followed in the States, stressing that he has no plans to take the vaccine any time soon.
‘I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card to enter the United States,’ the seven-time Wimbledon champion said.
‘I’ll wait hopefully for some good news from the US because I would really love to go there. That would be the next big tournament.
‘If that doesn’t happen, then I have to see what the schedule looks like. I will not burden myself to have to go and play tournaments and get points. I don’t feel I’m in a rush really anywhere to end my career in a year’s time or two years’ time or whatever. I want to keep my body healthy… keep myself mentally sane and motivated to compete with the young guns.
‘Everything that has followed Australia, particularly in the tournaments, has been a huge challenge and obstacle for me to overcome emotionally. I just needed time to weather the storm.’
After his win over Kyrgios in the Wimbledon showpiece, Djokovic’s wife Jelena became embroiled in a heated online spat with tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg, who branded her husband an ‘anti-vax poster boy.’
Rothenberg asked Djokovic at the weekend: ‘You do still have time to get vaccinated before New York to make it in time for the US. Is that something you’ve completely closed your mind to as an option going forward?’
He simply replied: ‘Yes.’
When Rothenberg took to Twitter to label him an ‘anti-vax poster boy’, a furious Jelena responded: ‘Excuse me. Just making sure that it is noted that YOU tagged him as antivax poster boy for whatever reason you have. He simply responded what HIS body choice is.’