Novak Djokovic given major US Open update after Covid rule change
Novak Djokovic has been given a major boost for his hopes to compete at the US Open later this year, after the American government confirmed an end date to their emergency Covid measures.
Joe Biden’s administration said on Monday that the restrictions, including mandatory vaccination to enter the US, would come to an end on the 11th May.
The major tennis event does not begin until the end of August, so barring a U-turn Djokovic should be able to play in New York for the first time since 2021.This will include lead up events including the Masters 1000 in Cincinnati, of which the Serb has won on two previous occasions.
Off the back of his 10th Australian Open title, the new No.1 now has the confirmation that he can compete in all four Grand Slams this year, whereas in 2022 he could only participate at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
After his triumph in Melbourne, Novak Djokovic said he was hoping to play the first masters of the year in Indian Wells, “I hope I can play at Indian Wells. That is my wish. It is still not allowed but maybe in the next few weeks I will get better news.”
However, that does not look as though it will be possible with the tournament many call ‘the fifth Grand Slam’ taking place in March, and the new rules do not come into action until two months later.
Djokovic, who has won the sunshine double a record four times, will not be able to achieve that feat again this year with Miami also off the cards.
However, the 35-year-old has said in the past that he wants to prioritise Grand Slams so he will be pleased to be able to compete at the biggest American tennis event once again, “Obviously at this stage of my career, Grand Slams are the ones I value the most,” Djokovic said. “They are the ones I prioritise. Before the season starts, I try to set my form, shape for these events where I can be at my prime.”
Djokovic has won the US Open on three previous occasions, but has not lifted the title at Flushing Meadows since 2018 when he defeated Juan Martin Del Potro in the final.
In 2019, he retired in the fourth round when he was two sets down to Stan Wawrinka and in 2020 he was defaulted at the same stage for accidentally hitting a ball at a lineswoman.
Djokovic came closer to regaining the US Open crown in 2021, when he was going for the historic calendar Grand Slam, but was beaten in the final by Daniil Medvedev.
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