This is the saga that marked the summer of tennis lovers: Will Novak Djokovic participate in the US Open? After weeks of suspense, the verdict is in. The Serbian will not be in New York to play the last big match of the season, from August 29 to September 11.
In a tweet posted on Thursday, August 25, two hours before the draw, Novak Djokovic announced that he would lose the Grand Slam tournament. “Unfortunately, this time I will not be able to travel to New York for the US Open. (…) I will stay in good shape and in a positive state of mind until I can resume competition. »
Unfortunately, this time I will not be able to travel to New York for the US Open. Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and s… https://t.co/OUlcMzH17p
In doubt, the position of the current number 6 in the world on the subject of vaccination against Covid-19. The triple starter and finalist in 2021 on the other side of the Atlantic remains unmoved and refuses to be vaccinated. “That is the price and I am willing to pay it. Making decisions about my body is more important than any title.”he said in an interview with the BBC on February 15. If he says he’s not anti-vax, he says “the freedom to choose what you put in your body”.
Djokovic expected a relaxation of the rules
An assumed choice that involves him in tough negotiations with the Anglo-Saxon tournaments, which maintain a strict policy. The United States is no exception and requires a vaccinated passport to enter the territory. Djokovic waited until the last moment for the relaxation of the measures formulated by the health authorities.
On the circuit, opinions differ. Some understand the choice of the US authorities, others question it. “I was in the United States and not many people seemed to follow the health recommendations. (…) So I don’t see why Djokovic couldn’t come and play.”abandoned Australian John Millman, 104me in the ATP ranking, on his Twitter account. For his part, Daniil Medvedev, number 1 in the world and winner of the US Open in 2021, did not hesitate to support the Serbian. “I can’t do anything, it’s the government that makes the rules. If it was my decision, I would definitely want Novak to play. I like it when the best players in the world are there. He just won a Grand Slam. I would love to see him in New York. » Same story with John McEnroe. The former glory of American tennis, known for his frankness, spoke in an interview with the Spanish newspaper Marca: “I would have been vaccinated, in his place, but you have to respect his way of thinking. We have been living with the pandemic for two and a half years. That he is not allowed to participate, I consider it a joke. »
The setting echoes the long legal battle between the player and the Australian government in January. Administrative detention, expulsion and prohibition of entry to the territory: the discussions had not turned in favor of Djokovic, who had to give up the Australian Open, where he came to defend his title.
An open male box like few times
As a result, the record holder for the number of weeks spent at the top of the ATP rankings (373) resigned from the American tour in August and the Masters 1000 in Montreal and then Cincinnati. The one who has not played since his coronation at Wimbledon on July 10, skips valuable points and falls a little further behind in his race for records, which he now leads with Rafael Nadal, since the prolonged absence from the field of the Swiss Roger Federer.
In the number of Grand Slam tournaments won, the Spaniard is one step ahead of his Serbian rival (22 and 21 trophies respectively), one year younger than him (35 years). But few will risk burying Novak Djokovic too quickly. “He is still very fit physically and he is a long way from the end of his career. He managed to recover from his experience in Australia, he knows what to expect”comments former tricolor tennis player Camille Pin. “The fact of being excluded from these competitions will motivate him more to win others. He knows what to expect and will be even more prepared for the future. He has such a level that he will simply create a balance with the other players.She continues.
Behind him, ‘Nole’ leaves a boulevard for his opponents in the men’s draw, with Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the lead. In the wake of the world number one, the promising new generation made up of Nick Kyrgios, Stefanos Tsitsipas or Carlos Alcaraz will be resolutely ready to fight. “This scenario resembles what we experienced among the ladies a few years ago. Players we didn’t think about will be able to try to get a title or a place in a Grand Slam, which seemed unimaginable a few years ago. It’s changing and it’s interesting.”Camille Pin reacts.
A quest for the Grail and, above all, a race for the top of the ATP ranking. Here too, the candidates are fighting to dislodge Daniil Medvedev from his throne. The Greek Tsitsipas and the Norwegian Casper Ruud (b.oh 7) could become the first players from their country to become No. 1 in the world. Spanish Carloz Alcaraz (b.oh 4), he could be the youngest player on tour to hold the top spot since Australian Lleyton Hewitt in November 2011.
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