The 2022 ATP season has been tough for Novak Djokovic, and things could get worse before they get better.
The US Government recently released fresh COVID-19 guidelines for the country and although some of the restrictions were lifted, others stayed put. As per the new set of regulations, international travelers will no longer need to submit a negative test report to enter the US. However, there is no change in the rules for foreigners to compulsorily show proof of vaccination against the virus.
In the past, Djokovic has made it clear that he will not get the vaccine as he strongly endorses an individual’s freedom to choose what to put in their body. This leaves the Serb with no option but to seek an exemption. But the US Open organizers, the United States Tennis Association, already declared last week that they will not ask the government for special exemptions for unvaccinated players.
Soon after, a number of fellow athletes and fans showed their support for Djokovic. In fact, a group of fans even started a petition to allow the Serb to play in the 2022 US Open. At the time of publishing this article, the list of signatures showed the number at 1,763.
A fan by the name of Padma Rajan started the petition and argued that if unvaccinated American players can participate in the tournament, Djokovic should be allowed to do so as well.
“There is absolutely no reason at this stage of the pandemic to not allow Djokovic to play at the US Open 2022. US Government and USTA must work together to allow him to play. If unvaccinated American players can play, Djokovic as one of the legends of the game, must be allowed to play. MAKE IT HAPPEN, USTA,” Rajan wrote in the petition.
Djokovic has already missed this year’s Australian Open, where he was the defending champion, due to his unvaccinated status. After winning the Italian Open, the 35-year-old was expected to go all the way and win the French Open. However, he lost to the eventual winner Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
The Serbian is a clear favorite to lift his seventh Wimbledon trophy this year, he defeated Matteo Berrettini in the final of last year’s tournament to increase his Grand Slam tally to 20.