Novak Djokovic’s camp is hoping against hope that the 21-time grand slam champion will be permitted to enter the upcoming US Open, the Serbian star’s coach says.
Having already missed the Australian Open earlier this year over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Djokovic stands to miss a second grand slam with the US government unlikely to allow the 34-year-old into the country.
While not ruling out a last minute change of heart from US officials, Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic has admitted he has ‘zero hope’ the tennis great will compete at Flushing Meadows.
Barring a personal intervention from US president Joe Biden, it appears unlikely legislators will be make any changes to existing border arrangements.
At the moment, non-citizens who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 are not permitted to enter the United States.
Djokovic was eventually deported from Australia prior to the Australian Open following several court challenges, after he was apprehended by border officials after arriving in Melbourne earlier this year.
It was ultimately determined that the vaccination exemption Djokovic had obtained, which he claimed was organised with assistance from the Victorian state government and Tennis Australia, was not valid and his visa was cancelled.
Speaking to La Republica, Ivanisevic said there is ‘too much politics in sport’ and said it made little sense that an unvaccinated US citizens were allowed into the country, but Djokovic would not be.
“There is always hope,” Ivanisevic said.
“Novak will do everything to be there, maybe he will get a special visa. But there are only two weeks.
“And, personally, I have zero hope that Biden will change the rules before the tournament starts.
“For me it is all nonsense and bull****.
“If you are vaccinated but positive you can enter the United States. If you are not vaccinated but negative, you are banned. There is too much politics in sports.”
Novak Djokovic’s US Open hopes dwindle over vaccination refusal
There is no doubt Djokovic’s refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus will likely impact his career legacy, particularly if his is not allowed to return to Australia in the near future.
Djokovic was banned from applying for an Australian visa for three years as a result of his deportation in February, with his only hope of competing in next year’s Australian Open being an intervention from the federal government to lift the ban.
With so much speculation throughout the year as to whether or not Djokovic would even be available for certain tournaments, Ivanisevic said lesser players would have left the sport.
“If it had happened to another tennis player, in 90% of cases he would have stopped,” he said.
“Instead, Nole is a born fighter, as well as being a genius of the sport.
“Sometimes the genes are a little strange and he needed it, time to rework something as serious as what it took him in Australia.”
Earlier this month, the 35-year-old was included in the entry list for the August 29-September 11 grand slam in New York.
“I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to US,” Djokovic said in a post on Instagram along with a video of him practising.
More than 43,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to work with the US government to allow 21-times major champion Djokovic to compete in the US Open.
The Serbian said he was prepared to miss grand slam tournaments rather than take the COVID-19 vaccine after his debacle in Melbourne.