What are the exceptions that the US allows for those not vaccinated against COVID-19 that Djokovic could use to play the US Open

Novak Djokovic assured that he will not be vaccinated against the coronavirus (Reuters)

This Thursday the US Open announced the list of its participants for the 2022 edition that will begin on August 29 in New York and among them appears Novak Djokovic, although the statement clarifies that all tennis players must adhere to the rules established by the State Department in order to enter the country. In this way, the Serb should be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to play the tournament, although there are some exceptions to which you may be able to apply.

Just a few weeks ago, while the tournament of Wimbledonthe former number 1 in the world was consulted precisely about what could happen in the last Grand Slam of the year after he himself slipped that he expected to receive “good news” from the United States. At a press conference he was then asked if he had closed the possibility of inoculating himself against the virus: “Yes, I closed it,” he sentenced.

With this confirmation made last month by Djokovic himself, the possibility that he can enter the North American country is banished, since according to the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all non-citizens and non-residents must “be fully vaccinated with an accepted COVID-19 vaccine.”

Novak Djokovic became Wimbledon champion, although the tournament did not add points to the ranking by decision of the International Tennis Federation (Reuters)
Novak Djokovic became Wimbledon champion, although the tournament did not add points to the ranking by decision of the International Tennis Federation (Reuters)

However, there are a number of exceptions that give the 35-year-old Serb hope. One of them is that present “documented medical contraindications to receive the COVID-19 vaccine”, something that he already tried in Australia, but that finally did not work out for him. In January of this year, the tennis player traveled to the oceanic country to play the first Grand Slam of the year, but after spending several days in a detention center he was deported for not being inoculated.

Another exception in the United States is for “persons whose income is considered to be of national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Transportation or the Secretary of National Security (or whoever they designate)”. This point is more complex since Djokovic would need an approval from a high government official to play the tournament.

In case of being able to apply for any of these exceptions, the athlete must undergo a viral test 3 to 5 days after his arrival in the United States, (unless he has documentation that proves that he recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days) and in addition You must self-quarantine for at least 5 days.

The truth is that this has already generated a stir and for a few days a Change.org page has been opened in which more than 18 thousand people put their signature for the US government to allow the entry of one of the best tennis players in history. “There is absolutely no reason at this stage of the pandemic not to allow Djokovic to compete at the 2022 US Open. The US government and the USTA must work together to allow him to play,” the website states.

The exceptions published by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention
The exceptions published by the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention

It should be remembered that the restrictions and the mandatory nature of the vaccine are exclusively for non-US citizens. That is Tennis players who are residents or have citizenship will be able to play the tournament despite not being inoculated against COVID-19.

In addition, in 2021 the Serbian had been able to participate in the contest in which he reached the final when he lost against the Russian Daniil Mevdedev because at that time there were no restrictions for the unvaccinated. For that edition, UTSA did establish strict quarantines and bubbles for all players, with the aim of avoiding an outbreak in the tournament.

“I’m a professional tennis player, I don’t get involved in politics or anything because that doesn’t interest me. I have my position and I am in favor of the freedom to choose what suits you best. I respect everything and everyone, and at least I hope that people respect my decision. If I have permission, I will be there. If I don’t, I won’t be there, it’s not the end of the world”, commented nole a few weeks ago in England when asked about the restrictions imposed by countries like Australia or the United States.

As for sports, this tournament will be key to Djokovicwho currently has twenty-one Grand Slam and is equal in this number with Rafael Nadal. His goal is to succeed in US Openjust as it did a few weeks ago in Wimbledonto become the tennis player with the most major titles in history.


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