Novak Djokovic has insisted he won’t get the Covid-19 vaccine and is ready to miss more Grand Slams.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner was expelled from Australia earlier this year, missing the Australian Open, with his vaccination status making headlines around the world.
He attempted to enter the country on a medical exemption, which was denied and his visa was subsequently cancelled.
Djokovic was cleared to play at Roland Garros last month, losing to Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals, and will defend his title at Wimbledon.
However, the US Open will be a tournament he cannot play if he persists in his refusal to get vaccinated.
Unvaccinated foreign nationals cannot enter the United States under current rules.
“As of today, I am not allowed to enter the United States under these circumstances,” Djokovic said. “I am aware of it and it is an additional motivation to do well here, and I hope to be able to have a very good tournament as I have done in the last three editions.
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“Then I’ll just have to wait and see. I would like to go to the United States. But so far this is not possible.
“I can’t do much anymore. It is up to the US government to decide whether or not to allow unvaccinated people to enter the country.
When asked if he had closed his mind on the possibility of getting vaccinated, he replied: “Yes”.
Djokovic is currently trailing career rival Rafael Nadal in the men’s all-time Grand Slam race, with the Spaniard between 22 and 20.
Nadal won the first two titles of the year, in Australia and France, and is still in contention for the calendar slam.
No male player has won more Grand Slams on hard court than Djokovic (12), but as things stand he won’t be able to play at the US Open or the Open. Australia for the foreseeable future.
The 35-year-old is a six-time Wimbledon champion, winning the last three, and eye-tying a record by one of his childhood heroes.
“I would like to be in the [final] to eventually go down in history, of course,” he said. “Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon was the first tennis match I’ve ever seen on TV. So there are a lot of connections to this tournament. Pete has won it seven times and hopefully I can do the same this year.
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