The row over Novak Djokovic’s ban from the US Open is getting messier after a former American baseball pro waded in to slam the tournament for following American government guidelines on unvaccinated travellers. The final Grand Slam of the year kicks off in five weeks and unjabbed foreign nationals are still barred from entering the country.
Djokovic looks set to be kept out of the US Open, with unvaccinated travellers still banned from entering the United States and time running out for the restrictions to ease, with five weeks until the tournament begins. The Grand Slam organisers themselves have already confirmed they “will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens.”
The world No 7 has received backing from multiple politicians pressuring Joe Biden to drop the rules and allow him to compete, and the row has now erupted after retired baseball pitcher Chris Manno waded in with some scathing words for the tournament after hearing it would follow government guidelines despite not imposing its own vaccine mandate.
“These close minded dummies at the @usopen fail to realize they delegitimize their own tournament, leaving the “winner” to look like a place holder champion when they prohibit a top contender in @DjokerNole from competing,” the native New Yorker tweeted. “Let them eat themselves.”
It’s not the first time an athlete based in New York has shown support for the three-time US Open champion, as former world No 1 John McEnroe recently called for the debacle to be “sorted out” as he shared his wish to see Djokovic in Flushing Meadows.
Speaking to Tennis365, the seven-time Major champion said: “We have to sort this out. Djokovic needs to play at the US Open. Please, someone work out how we make this happen because we need this incredible champion there.”
Djokovic himself has not commented on the situation since he won a 21st Grand Slam trophy at Wimbledon earlier this month. He is on the entry list for both the US Open and the warm-up Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati, but will be forced to withdraw if he is unable to enter the country.
“I’ll wait hopefully for some good news from USA because I would really love to go there. That would be probably the next big tournament, the next big swing, playing a tournament or two before US Open and US Open,” he said of his upcoming plans. “If that doesn’t happen, then I have to see what the schedule will look like. To be honest, I doubt that I’ll go and chase points.”