Novak Djokovic’s has been given the news he will be free to enter the United States and play the US Open this year.
The door has opened for the word No. 1 to return to the US after a decision from the Biden administration to end all Covid-19 emergency measures.
Djokovic, one of the highest profile figures to refuse the Covid-19 vaccine, has previously been banned from the country under its policy to close its border to all visitors yet to receive the vaccine.
The White House announced on Tuesday (AEDT) the policy will be scrapped from May 11.
The public health emergency was first declared by former president Donald Trump in January 2020, and president Joe Biden recently extended the policy last month.
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It means Djokovic will not be able to compete at the marquee ATP Tour events at Indian Wells (March) and Miami (April).
The delayed start to the new public health policy is designed to give the national medical system time to prepare.
His return to the US Open has historic consequences as he battles Rafael Nadal for the record of most grand slams won in men’s tennis.
Djokovic now sits equal with Nadal on 22 slams — and will be the hot favourite to win at Wimbledon (where he has won four-consecutive titles) and in New York this year. Nadal’s best chance of adding to his trophy cabinet is to win at Roland Garros.
The good news continues to roll in for Djokovic just days after his triumph at the Australian Open — the 10th time he has ben crowned champion in Melbourne.
Djokovic said on Monday the signs look good for him to return from injury within a month.
The Serbian had carried a hamstring injury throughout the tournament. His coach Goran Ivanisevic said the issue would have forced “97 per cent of players” to retire from the tournament.
“I’m not sure, I’m going to do some medical check-ups in the next few days,” he replied. “Then I’ll be able to talk about it a bit more and understand the situation.”
Djokovic pulled his hamstring before the Australian Open, having won a warm-up event in Adelaide, and was badly hampered at times at Melbourne Park, particularly in the early rounds.
At one point he did not practise between matches.
“As it stands today I am still signed in for the Dubai tournament, which is in a month’s time. I hope I’ll be able to come back to the courts in several weeks’ time,” he said Monday.
“Let’s see, you know, I’ll speak to the medical team and then take it from there,” he added
— with AFP