On Thurs., Novak Djokovic announced that he won't be travelling to New York to compete in the US Open due to entry restrictions as he isn't vaccinated against COVID.
This comes a day after the CDC updated international travel requirements, extending the need for non-US citizens and immigrants to "show proof of being fully vaccinated" for COVID before boarding their flight to the US.
Though unvaccinated visitors have been banned from entering the US since Oct. 2021, Djokovic had been hopeful that a new CDC regulation could allow him to play the Grand Slam, which begins on Mon. at Flushing Meadows.
Currently No. 6 in ATP rankings, the Serbian tennis star won the Wimbledon title and played the French Open in 2022 but wasn't allowed to compete in the Australian Open as well as other tournaments hosted in North America.
Djokovic owns 21 Grand Slams - one behind Spaniard Rafael Nadal for the men's record - including three US Open titles (2011, 2015, 2018). Last year, he lost his 6th final in New York after being defeated by Russian Daniil Medvedev.
After his withdrawal, Djokovic was replaced by American tennis player Jack Sock in the draw.
Right narrative, as provided by Daily Mail. It's outrageous that Djokovic is being punished for choosing what's best for him. The Biden admin's pseudo-scientific forever pandemic policy is an outdated power grab that makes little sense as COVID vaccine mandates have neither moral nor scientific arguments due to their ineffectiveness at preventing the spread of the virus.
Left narrative, as provided by Deadspin. Djokovic should know that choices have consequences. He's not a human rights hero by refusing to get vaccinated, just a hypocrite that has been defying science and health instructions after criticizing Naomi Osaka for not following the rules. Vaccines have been central to containing COVID and protecting the vulnerable and, as much as we'd like it to be, the pandemic isn't over yet. It's time for him to stop this stubbornness.
Cynical narrative, as provided by New York Magazine. Yes, Novak Djokovic holds bizarre fringe beliefs and is solely responsible for this embarrassing situation. Even so, the US travel requirements don't make sense anymore as they only apply to international flights while domestic restrictions are almost entirely gone. Punishing Djokovic only provides additional fodder for the anti-vaxxers.