Novak Djokovic, the world’s number one in men’s tennis, will qualify for this year’s US Open after the US government announced plans to end COVID-19 vaccination requirements for international travelers on May 11.
The White House said Monday that the requirement will end when the coronavirus public health emergency ends next week.
Djokovic, one of his most famous athletes not vaccinated against COVID-19, missed the 2022 US Open due to not being vaccinated.
The 35-year-old Serb was barred from entering the country this year after failing to apply to the US government for special permission to play in his Masters tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.
Djokovic missed last year’s Australian Open and was expelled from the country for being vaccinated. He said he would skip the Grand Slams instead of getting the COVID vaccine.
However, with ease of restrictions by the Australian government later in 2022, the Serb took part in and won the 2023 edition of the tournament in Melbourne to equal Rafael Nadal
s record of 22 mens grand slam titles.
While Djokovic has refused to explicitly say whether he received any shots to protect against the coronavirus, he would not have needed an exemption to enter Australia in 2022 if he were fully vaccinated.
In April 2020, he issued a statement saying: “Personally I am opposed to the vaccination against COVID-19 in order to be able to travel. But if it becomes compulsory, I will have to make a decision whether to do it or not.”
Months later, he and his wife tested positive for the illness caused by the coronavirus after a series of exhibition matches he organised without social distancing or masking.
In January 2022, Djokovic knew he had tested positive for COVID-19 when he attended a newspaper interview and photoshoot at his tennis centre in Serbia, admitting he made an “error of judgement” and should have immediately gone into isolation.
Djokovic has won three of his 22 major titles at the US Open.
This year’s tournament will run from his August 28th to September 10th.