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Novak Djokovic won’t be allowed to play in the U.S. Open this year because of a federal policy requiring non-citizens to be fully vaccinated to enter the country, but a petition urging the USTA to work with the United States government has garnered more than 17,000 signatures in hopes of changing that.
The Change.org petition had over 17,400 signatures as of Wednesday afternoon and called for the USTA and the U.S. government to “work together to allow [Djokovic] to play.”
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, center, waves to the crowd after losing to Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, in the men’s singles final of the US Open tennis championships, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
“There is absolutely no reason at this stage of the pandemic to not allow Djokovic to play at the US Open 2022,” the petition read.”U.S. Government and USTA must work together to allow him to play. If unvaccinated American players can play, Djokovic as one of the legends of the game must be allowed to play. MAKE IT HAPPEN, USTA!”
Djokovic, who is not vaccinated, was deported from Australia back in January after traveling there for the Australian Open. At the time, the ATP said that 97% of its top 100 players had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Open released a statement stating that while the tournament has no mandate, it will adhere to federal guidelines.
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, reacts after defeating Alexander Zverev, of Germany, during the semifinals of the US Open tennis championships, Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
“The U.S. Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens.”
Djokovic was included on the entry list for men’s singles, but the U.S. Open explained that eligible players are automatically included based on their rankings “42 days prior to the first Monday of the event.”
Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves against Nick Kyrgios of Australia during their Men’s Singles Final match on day fourteen of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2022 in London, England. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
After winning his 21 Grand Slam title at Wimbledon earlier this month, Djokovic said he “would love” to enter the U.S. Open, but added: “I’m not planning to get vaccinated.”
He has already missed several U.S.-based events as a result of his vaccine status.
Paulina Dedaj is a Digital Reporter for Fox News and Fox Business. Follow Paulina Dedaj on Twitter at @PaulinaDedaj. If you’ve got a tip, you can email Paulina at Paulina.Dedaj@fox.com