After weeks of agonizing suspense, Novak Djokovic cannot compete in the 2022 US Open. He had to withdraw involuntarily due to travel restrictions for foreigners entering the United States. There was a possibility he could play because of the CDC relaxing their COVID-19 mandates and regulations for vaccinated and unvaccinated people. However, the rule remained to require foreigners and all non-U.S. citizens to show proof of vaccination before entering the country.
Novak is unvaccinated by choice and has openly admitted to the world his decision. He knew there would be significant ramifications for not taking the vaccine. Novak is very particular about what he eats, his training, and when he puts in his body. He should not be forced to take something he doesn’t want to take that could possibly lead to inhibiting his tennis career. And, thereafter, which could hinder his performance for life.
Tennis aficionados and the community are receiving a backhand to their enthusiasm due to the absence of Novak Djokovic, much like he is feeling from the government mandates. Many politicians have taken Novak’s side and tried to convince the administration and CDC to let Djokovic play. Several US senators criticized the CDC rules that prevented Djokovic from entering the USA. But now, it all seems just a little too late.
Opportunity Due to Absence
As of today, Novak has dropped to 6th place in the world from number one. His drop in the rankings was not from losing but from being restricted from playing in other countries requiring covid vaccination as well. Therefore, he must abide by mandates and rules set in place by governments, and no sports organization can sway them.
The more he sits out of playing tournaments, the further his ranking and status will drop. Also, his absence paves the way for other players to rise to the top. For example, Nadal has more possibilities for victory. Djokovic’s absence from the Australian Open allowed Nadal to take the win without top-seeded pressure.
And as Nadal rises and Novak falls, those top empty spots will get filled with new names and faces and a chance for those professionals to improve their status and ranking.
Rafael Nadal said Novak not competing is sad and unfortunate news.
John McEnroe also chimed in and said it’s a shame they can’t find a way to let Novak compete. He could not believe he was not going to play and was highly disappointed Novak was out. He further commented that Novak had just won Wimbledon; how is it he cannot play in the Open? Finally, John said he disagrees with Djokovic’s decision not to be vaccinated, but he respects it.
Djokovic will be 36 years old soon, so he’s getting older and losing chances to win more Grand Slams and championships. As of now, he has 21 Grand Slam championships under his belt.
Novak took to social media and thanked his fans and supporters on Twitter, saying he is sad that he cannot travel to New York for US Open. However, he signed off by saying good luck to his fellow players and that he will stay positive and fit.
In February, Novak Djokovic told the BBC that he was willing to pay the price for his decision and refusal not to take the covid vaccine. He knew he would be banned from playing in competitions and that his rank would fall. However, his self-respect and life values mean more to him than any trophy or status can offer.