Novak Djokovic gets US Open ban indication as tournament release vaccine protocols

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The US Open has hinted that Novak Djokovic will be unable to enter the country and participate in the tournament after providing an update on its Covid protocols. Organisers are planning to implement health and safety measures at the two-week event and have reminded fans from abroad that they will be unable to enter the country without proof of vaccination. 

Djokovic faces an anxious wait to find out whether the American government will relax travel restrictions in time for him to compete at the US Open, which is now just eight days away. With time ticking, the tournament is yet to provide any update on the three-time champion’s situation but organisers have now revealed that they will be implementing a number of Covid-related protocols.

While the measures are yet to be announced, the tournament website has been updated with information regarding Covid restrictions and fans travelling from abroad to attend the US Open have been warned that they will need to be fully vaccinated to enter the country. “At this time, ticket holders will not be required to show proof of COVID vaccination for admission into the US Open,” a statement on their website reads.

“However, please note that if you are travelling from abroad to attend the US Open, you must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID vaccine to travel to the United States (this applies to non-U.S. citizens and/or non-U.S. immigrants).” With the tournament needing to warn unvaccinated fans from abroad, it indicates that they expect the restrictions to remain for the tournament – also subjecting players to the government’s entry requirements.

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In the same part of the website, the tournament also fails to rule out adding its own additional measures for players in America who will be competing. Under a FAQ question titled: “Will players need to be vaccinated?” the tournament has stated: “COVID health and safety protocols for players (including any vaccination and/or testing requirements) are being evaluated and will be made at a later date, taking into account guidance from U.S., New York State and New York City governmental and health authorities.”

It means that players could face a last-minute mandate to either test themselves during the tournament or require vaccination to compete, while on-site staff including media are already required to provide proof of vaccination. And the tournament released a further statement revealing it would be implementing additional health and safety protocols over the fortnight, which would be outlined at a later date.

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“Our goal is to ensure that your 2022 experience is both enjoyable and safe,” organisers said. “We will be continuing to follow CDC, New York State and New York City COVID related guidelines and advice from our medical consultants to establish and implement health and safety protocols for the 2022 US Open. We will share more details on specific US Open health and safety protocols as they become available.”

Djokovic remains on the entry list for the US Open and is yet to pull out, with the world No 6 expected to wait until the last possible moment in case travel restrictions are loosened by the government in time for him to arrive in the country to compete. But given the tournament’s latest updates, it could be bad news for the 21-time Major champion.



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