Djokovic Forced Out of Tennis Competition By Biden Vaccine Mandate

Tennis legend Novak Djokovic withdrew from a tournament set for next week in Cincinnati on Friday as a result of continuing U.S. travel restrictions imposed by the Biden administration prohibiting persons who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine to enter the country.

The press release from officials at the upcoming tournament cited “travel restrictions” as the reason for Djokovic’s withdrawal.

The Ohio tournament is considered a warm-up for the U.S. Open, which begins in New York on August 29. Djokovic is also expected to miss that tournament, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year.

Djokovic, 35, is a Serbian who has won 21 Grand Slam major championships in his career. He sits just one win behind Rafael Nadal of Spain for the all-time men’s record.

Djokovic has said that he has decided that he will not receive the vaccination, although he is likely to be prohibited from playing in certain tournaments as a result. He missed the Australian Open, another Grand Slam event, in January after controversially being deported for refusing to accept the vaccine upon trying to enter the country for the tournament.

He has also missed two tournaments in the U.S. earlier this year and the tournament being held this week in Montreal.

Even though Djokovic has said that he is hoping for a path that would allow him to compete in the U.S. Open for a shot at tying the all-time record for major wins, it would appear it would require some major shift in federal policy. The U.S. Tennis Association (USTA), which controls and manages the U.S. Open, has said that it will not deviate from official government policy.

Nebojsa Jovanovic runs a sports management company in the U.S. and called on the USTA to do something more to help Djokovic be able to compete in the U.S. Open. He said that the failure of tournament officials to assist the Serbian star is unexplainable.

Jovanovic added, “If Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal had had a similar problem, I am convinced that they would have done everything possible to solve it.” Federer is from Switzerland and is the winner of 20 career Grand Slam singles titles.

Djokovic has won the U.S. Open singles championship three times and finished second in last year’s tournament to Danil Medvedev.