Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic will be returning to the United States for the 2023 US Open after being forced to miss the event due to a Biden Administration vaccine mandate in 2022.
U.S. Tennis Association spokesman Chris Widmaier sent an email to reporters on Tuesday, explaining that Djokovic will be able to play in the upcoming major event. He said:
“Novak Djokovic is a great champion, a fan favorite, and now that the federal government has lifted its vaccine requirements for international travelers, we look forward to welcoming him back to New York for the 2023 U.S. Open.”
On May 11th, Novak Djokovic will finally be able to travel to America. He held his line, regardless of the professional consequences.pic.twitter.com/iRLOjFcRNo
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) May 2, 2023
Djokovic is in good playing form this year, having won the Australian Open in January in his return to that event. As CBS Sports wrote, the star was barred access to the 2022 Australian Open for similar reasons:
“The U.S. has not been the only country where Djokovic has encountered issues. Djokovic was involved in a controversy last year when he was deported from Australia ahead of the 2022 Australian Open. However, he was able to compete at Melbourne Park this year after the country’s restrictions were eased.
“Djokovic went on to win the 10th Australian Open title of his career in late January. That win was not just big because of his return to Australia, but also because he pulled off the victory — his 93rd ATP title and 22nd Grand Slam — while dealing with a muscle tear of about an inch in his left hamstring. He is now tied with Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles in tennis history. “
Djokovic will have an opportunity in the US Open to cement his claim to the most Grand Slam Titles in the history of professional tennis by a male player. He currently sits in a tie with Rafael Nadal. His claim to the title of Greatest of All Time may also be up for grabs, as The Telegraph writes:
The versatility is uncanny. Djokovic is the swiss-army knife of tennis. Or perhaps the ultimate omnivore, capable of despatching his prey in so many different ways.
Tennis is a sport of tiny numerical variations. Whether you win 73 or 74 per cent of your first-serve points over a season could change your world ranking by five places at the end of the year.
Djokovic the professor is constantly crunching these numbers on his mental whiteboard. Which is why certain other numbers – such as the records for most grand-slam titles and most weeks at No 1 – will end up in his possession for decades to come. Perhaps even forever.
You can see why American tennis commentator Brad Gilbert says “I call Djokovic the taxman, because he always collects.” Or, in the words of his erstwhile analyst Craig O’Shannessy, “You play Novak, and it’s like playing the bank at Vegas.”
The tennis world is always at its best when the best players are able to participate in the biggest tournaments, so whether fans like Djokovic or not, the US Open just took a major turn for the better.
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