Novak Djokovic has resigned himself to missing a second Grand Slam due to his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
The Serb addressed the issue for the first time since the US announced earlier this month that their requirement for anyone entering the country to show proof of vaccination would remain in place.
Djokovic was asked at Wimbledon on Saturday whether he would seek an exemption to compete in the US Open — as he did for the Australian Open, a fiasco which ended with his deportation from the country.
‘Well, as of today I’m not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances,’ he said. ‘I’ll just have to wait and see. I would love to go to the States. But as of today, that’s not possible.
‘There is not much I can do anymore. It’s really up to the US government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people into the country.’
There is, of course, very much something he could do – join the 5.2billion people who have been vaccinated. Asked whether he had ‘completely closed his mind’ to that option, the 35-year-old replied: ‘Yes.’
Trailing Rafael Nadal by 20 Grand Slams to 22, Djokovic can ill afford to let chances to close that gap slip by. In that context, this fortnight at Wimbledon assumes even greater importance, a fact the defending champion acknowledged. ‘That is an extra motivation to do well here,’ he said.