US Open 2022: Protesters Back Novak Djokovic, Demand End Of COVID-19 Travel Mandate – WATCH

A small group of demonstrators chanting “Novak! Novak!” outside the entrance of the US Open urged an end of the vaccine travel mandate that kept Novak Djokovic from competing in this year’s tournament. The 142nd edition of US Open tennis started Monday at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, New York. (More Tennis News)

Djokovic, who is from Serbia, was not able to travel to the United States because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. He was able to compete during the previous two editions held during the pandemic, but the current vaccine requirement began last November 8.

Foreign citizens who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 are currently unable to enter the US or Canada.

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According to reports, members of Families are Essential and Children’s Health Defense Teachers for Choice were among the demonstrators, standing behind signs that read “End The Travel Mandate Now!”

Last week, Novak Djokovic took to Twitter to inform that he won’t be able to compete at the season’s final Grand Slam tournament.

“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open,” Djokovic wrote, wishing luck to his fellow players, and said he would “keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again.”

Djokovic, 35, owns 21 Grand Slam singles titles, and is one behind Rafael Nadal for the men’s all-time record.

Three of Djokovic’s Major titles came at the US Open in 2011, 2015 and 2018. The Serbian also was the runner-up in New York a half-dozen times, including last year, when his pursuit of the first calendar-year Grand Slam in men’s tennis since 1969 ended with a loss in the final to Daniil Medvedev.

Djokovic also missed the Australian Open in January after a protracted legal saga ended with his deportation from that country. He also sat out four significant tournaments in North America in 2022, including in Montreal and Cincinnati recently.

He did play in the French Open, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Nadal, and at Wimbledon, where he won the title, defeating Nick Kyrgios.

After the All England final, Djokovic had said that he “would love” to participate in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year, but reiterated that “I’m not planning to get vaccinated.”

(With AP inputs)