A leading figure in sports management in the US has slammed the country for banning Novak Djokovic from coming to compete in the US Open. Djokovic, who won a 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon this summer, is currently forbidden from travelling to America over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
But his hopes of a record-equalling 22nd major title at Flushing Meadows appear to be over before they begin. The Serbian was given a glimmer of hope when it was announced that Covid restrictions were to be relaxed in the country, but the measures only apply to US citizens.
It’s the latest development in what has become as explosive saga, with Djokovic missing the Australian Open earlier this year despite initially gaining a medical exemption to compete. A court ruling eventually ordered him to be deported out of the country just a day before the tournament in Melbourne began.
He was then banned from competing in events in Miami and Indian Wells. And now Nebojsa Jovanovic, head of a sports management company in the US, has claimed the ongoing ban from the States is unjust, and suggested rules would be relaxed were Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal the player in question.
“I can’t understand why the organizers of the US Open have not yet written a letter to convince the government to let Novak Djokovic in,” he told Sputnik. “They just said that they will respect the current regulations regarding the entry of foreigners.
“If Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal had had a similar problem, I am convinced that they would have done everything possible to solve it,” the 65-year-old added, before also revealing he had sent a letter to authorities on behalf of the star.
And he confirmed receipt had been acknowledged, even if the likelihood of him helping to turn around the situation appears remote: “They responded to my letter? Yes, they thanked me and said they will take my request into account.”
Earlier this week, defending champion Daniil Medvedev inadvertently revealed he didn’t expect his rival to gain an exemption to compete. He pointedly left the Serbian out when listing his main rivals for the title in New York.