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Novak Djokovic’s inability to participate in the US Open earlier this month due to his vaccination status is not something the 21-time Grand Slam champion regrets – even if it means more time between tournaments and a drop in the rankings.
Djokovic stood by his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19, during a press conference on Thursday before the Laver Cup in Londonsaying he was well aware of the consequences.
“I have no regrets. I mean, I’m sad that I couldn’t play (at the US Open), but it was a decision I made and I knew what the consequences would be,” he said Thursday. “So I just accepted them, and that was it.”
Federal travel restrictions have prevented Djokovic from entering the United States, as non-citizens must be vaccinated against COVID to enter.
The United States Tennis Association (USTA) issued a statement over the summer announcing that while the tournament does not have a vaccination mandate, it will abide by federal policy.
“I’m not used to doing, obviously in the last 15-20 years, longer breaks between tournaments, but that’s how it is,” added Djokovic. “That’s kind of the situation I was in. I’m just thrilled to be able to play here now – and most of the other (tournaments) indoors for the rest of the season.”
Djokovic was deported from Australia in January after traveling there on a visa with a medical exemption for the first Grand Slam tournament of the year. While he was able to compete at the French Open and went on to win Wimbledon, he is currently ranked No. 7 in the world, partly because ranking points were not awarded to the All England Club due to the banning of Russian and Belarusian athletes.
Djokovic faces a three-year ban following his expulsion, but it’s not a matter he gave much thought to, although he was hoping for the best.
“It’s really not in my hands right now,” he said Thursday. “So hopefully I get some positive news.”
The Australian Open was one of Djokovic’s most successful performances – he won a record nine titles. He said in May that he had “no hard feelings” about the incident and that given the chance “I would love to come back”.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.