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Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic Will Not Play at Upcoming US Open

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the upcoming U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19 and, therefore, prohibited from traveling to the United States, officially announced his expected withdrawal from the New York tournament on his verified Twitter account Thursday.

"Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open," Djokovic wrote. "Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!"

Djokovic, 35, currently has 21 career major championships, which is one behind Spain's Rafael Nadal for the men's tennis record, including three that came in the 2011, 2015, and 2018 U.S. Open tournaments.

The Serbian has also finished as a runner-up six times, which included losing to Daniil Medvedev in last year's U.S. Open final, falling just short of the calendar-year Grand Slam, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 1969.

The U.S. and Canada prohibit entry to foreign citizens who haven't been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic has been outspoken about his unwillingness to get the shots, despite it preventing him from playing in certain tournaments, which included being denied entry to Australia ahead of the Australian Open in January.

The U.S. Tennis Association vowed to follow government rules in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the 2022 U.S. Open, despite there being no vaccine mandate for players or their support teams, which means unvaccinated Americans will be allowed to compete and fans in attendance will not be required to wear facial coverings during the tournament.

“Novak is a great champion and it is very unfortunate that he will be unable to compete at the 2022 U.S. Open, as he is unable to enter the country due to the federal government’s vaccination policy for non-U.S. citizens,” said Stacey Allaster, the U.S. Open tournament director, via the AP. “We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 U.S. Open.”

The US. Open will begin play on Monday (August 29).

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