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Everybody knows about the controversy that went down in Australia with Novak Djokovic. However, since those dark times for the Serb, things obviously picked him. He was allowed to compete in the French Open as well as Wimbledon, mainly thanks to things relaxing in Europe surrounding COVID restrictions. Of course, being able to compete in these events was also huge for him when it comes to the record books.
If he couldn’t play, he wouldn’t have won Wimbledon and moved within one slam of his great rival, Rafael Nadal. So really, this summer was huge for him already. But there is still a fairly large, dark cloud hanging over his head. At the time of writing, he won’t be allowed to compete at the US Open in August/September. That’s because the USA still has a vaccine mandate for visitors, of which Djokovic does not meet the criteria.
Note that I say the USA here, not the USTA – who is the governing body for the US Open. They actually don’t have any mandates for the 2022 event. However, they have stated that they will respect the government’s restrictions regarding non-citizens entering the country. With this said, there is hope for Djokovic. And for the moment, his participation in the US Open is perhaps best described as a ‘maybe’ rather than a straight-up ‘no’.
Novak Djokovic – A Possible US Open 2022 Contender
If you were to look at this question at the beginning of the year, there would have been no question that Djokovic would not compete in the 2022 US Open. But things are in motion for the Serb to compete. For that reason, I’ve revealed the most important factors surrounding his chances of competing below:
The Petition for Him to Compete
I have to admit, this was news to me when I found out a few days ago. Amazingly, tennis fans have come together to create a petition for Djokovic to compete at the 2022 US Open. The petition is designed specifically with that outcome in mind. And currently, more than 12,000 tennis fans have signed the petition to send the Serb to New York. If the petition gains enough traction, this could put enormous pressure on the USTA to allow his participation.
Possible Relaxation of Restrictions
This one is a bit of a long shot for the moment, but it is possible. The United States has not exactly followed suit with other places such as Europe surrounding COVID restrictions. However, there is an extensive list of exceptions, at the time of writing. And the one that caught my attention is whether entry would be ‘in the national interest’. Personally, I’d have thought that Novak Djokovic’s participation would be of interest, but that’s just me!
Overall Benefits to Tennis
Looking beyond mandates and other requirements for him to compete, we have to look at the bigger picture too. Djokovic is one of the greatest players of all time. And he only has a few seasons left at the top of the game, in my opinion. So to deny the fans and deny the sport of his participation would seem a huge shame. From another angle, his participation is also huge for ticket sales and TV viewings – something that the powers that be won’t want to ignore.