Novak Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic has suggested that the Serb is highly unlikely to compete at this year’s US Open due to the country’s strict entry requirements with regards to those who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID-19. Djokovic recently won his latest Grand Slam title at Wimbledon but has endured a turbulent year as a result of his refusal to take the jab, which ultimately stopped him from playing in the Australian Open back in January.
Djokovic has insisted that he would like to feature at the US Open but will be prevented from doing so unless the ban on unvaccinated players entering the country is lifted over the coming weeks. Ivanisevic is not expecting such a decision to be made before the on-court action gets underway at Flushing Meadows, though, which is likely to leave Djokovic’s hopes of competing in tatters.
“I don’t know about the US Open [entry], it’s difficult,” Ivanisevic told Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija. “I am more optimistic that I will get an invitation and win Umag than that they will let him to the US Open.
“They don’t ask for vaccination there, but as a country they are closed to the unvaccinated, for now he can’t enter the country. I respect and appreciate him, he made a decision that he will not change.
“When they proclaim him to be a leader [of the anti-vax movement], to have a bad influence on people, that is wrong. He doesn’t want to get vaccinated, he doesn’t want to introduce it into his body, and he never told others not to get vaccinated. I respect and support his decision.”
Ivanisevic went on to admit that he would love for the US government to relax their entry requirements but is not optimistic over the possibility of a solution being found before the final Grand Slam of the year gets underway. He also slammed Djokovic’s critics by lifting the lid on the level of contempt that has been shown by those in opposition to the 35-year-old’s unvaccinated status over the course of this year.
“I hope these decisions are reversed,” he said. “People [were] infected in Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and nothing to anyone.
“There are so many contradictions, I was vaccinated, it’s not a problem for me, but for two and a half years they terrorise us, when you’re infected it’s like you have scabies, they throw you and the team out. We were on the wall of shame.”
Djokovic’s presence would surely be missed if he does not play at the US Open after reaching the final of last year’s competition, in which he was beaten by eventual champion Daniil Medvedev. He has already underlined his desire to continue playing at the highest level for another few years before he decides to retire, though, which suggests that he will have further opportunities to achieve Grand Slam glory prior to the end of his career.