Novak Djokovic does not regret the position of the vaccine after the US Open: “I knew what the consequences would be”

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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.

Novak Djokovic of Team Europe attends day one of The Laver Cup at The O2 Arena on September 23, 2022 in London, England.

Novak Djokovic of Team Europe attends day one of The Laver Cup at The O2 Arena on September 23, 2022 in London, England.
(Luke Walker/Getty Images for Laver Cup)

“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.”

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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.”

FILE - Novak Djokovic of Serbia wipes away a sweat during a practice session at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain April 30, 2022.

FILE – Novak Djokovic of Serbia wipes away a sweat during a practice session at the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Spain April 30, 2022.
(AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, File)

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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.

Serbian Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday (February 29th).  21, 2021.

Serbian Novak Djokovic holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after defeating Russian Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final of the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday (February 29th). 21, 2021.
(AP Photo/Mark Dadswell, File)

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“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.