Novak Djokovic: Thousands sign petition to allow 21-time Grand Slam winner to play US Open



CNN

More than 12,000 people have signed an online petition on change.org calling on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the US government to allow Novak Djokovic to play at the US Open.

Currently, the 21-time Grand Slam champion cannot enter the country due to regulations mandating full vaccination against Covid-19.

“At this stage of the pandemic, there is absolutely no reason not to allow Djokovic to play at the 2022 US Open. The US government and USTA must work together to allow him to gamble. If unvaccinated American players can play, Djokovic must be allowed to play as one of the game’s legends. MAKE IT POSSIBLE, USTA!” the petition said.

Immigration issues have somewhat derailed Djokovic’s year as his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine has hampered his participation in tournaments around the world.

Before the start of the Australian Open in January, Djokovic was deported from Australia after a period in detention and was unable to defend his title.

He later told the BBC he was willing to miss tournaments to maintain his unvaccinated status and he has refrained from competing in several tournaments throughout the year including those in the US such as the Miami Open and Indian Wells.

However, Djokovic has competed in two Grand Slams this year – the French Open, where he reached the quarterfinals and lost to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, and Wimbledon, where he won his title 4-6 6-3 6-4 7 : 6 defended Nick Kyrgios in the final.

Currently unable to enter the United States – and with his participation in the Australian Open also in doubt due to laws that could ban him from entering the country for another three years – Djokovic’s next appearance at a Grand Slam could be the French Open in 2023 .

The US Open begins August 29 in Flushing Meadows, New York.