US Open: Hope rises for banned Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic will be able to play at this year’s US Open after the United States announced it is lifting its vaccine mandate on international travellers.

Djokovic is not vaccinated against Covid-19 and had previously been unable to enter America.

But US policy will change on May 12, allowing the 22-time Grand Slam winner to return to Flushing Meadows in August.

A White House statement said: ‘Today, we are announcing that the Administration will end the Covid-19 vaccine requirements for Federal employees, Federal contractors, and international air travellers at the end of the day on May 11, the same day that the Covid-19 public health emergency ends.’

Djokovic, 35, missed both Australian Open and the US Open tournaments in 2022 because of his vaccination status.

With vaccination against Covid-19 no longer required to enter Australia, Djokovic competed at this year’s Australian Open in January and won his latest major singles title.

Djokovic has won the US Open title three times with his victories coming in 2011, 2015 and 2018.

He reached the final in 2021, where a defeat to Daniil Medvedev prevented him from achieving a calendar Grand Slam.

The Serbian star had previously applied for special permission to play in the US last month at the ATP Masters events at Indian Wells and Miami, with the requests turned down.

The Biden administration had faced calls to allow the world No. 1 to enter the US to compete in the tournaments.

Djokovic was forced to miss the ‘Sunshine Double’ as a result, with the 35-year-old returning to action at the Monte Carlo Masters last month.

He admitted to struggling with an elbow injury during a shock defeat to Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti.

Djokovic was then beaten by his compatriot Dusan Lajovic in the quarter-finals of the Srpska Open in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Concerns over Djokovic’s fitness were further raised after he withdraw from the Mutua Madrid Open.

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