Letter to Joe Biden. Is there still a loophole for Djokovic at the US Open?

Novak Djokovic is currently training as if he could compete in New York.

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Without vaccination no US Open. Actually, the announcement of the tournament officials is unmistakable. And yet Djokovic still hopes to participate. Joe Biden himself should make it possible.

Over the weekend, Novak Djokovic posted a video showing him intense training on DecoTurf. The same pad that is also used at the US Open. He writes: “I am preparing as if I could compete while waiting to find out if I can enter the United States.” At the same time, the 35-year-old once again thanks his fans for their tremendous support.

So it seems that the last word in this file has still not been spoken. The organizers have repeatedly emphasized that they will not make any exceptions in Djokovic’s case and will adhere to the government’s vaccination rules, but perhaps this very government could still create a loophole for the Serbs.

How important is Djokovic for the tournament?

In a petition, more than 40,000 fans are demanding that their idol be admitted to the tournament. They also wrote a letter to the address of US President Joe Biden. In their request, the signature collectors refer to article 10294 of the presidential proclamation. This allows non-Americans to enter the country if entry is in the national interest.

“Given the economic situation and the ongoing crisis, America must not allow the US Open to take place without all its glory,” said lobbyist Nebojsa Jovanovic. This also includes the participation of Djokovic, who has already won the tournament three times in his career. “It is in America’s interest that the biggest tournament in the world hosts the best player in the world – especially since he just won his seventh title at Wimbledon,” added Jovanovic. In addition, the 21-time Grand Slam champion “does not pose a safety risk” and serves “millions of people around the world as a role model and inspiration”.

Based on this proclamation article, the concern from the point of view of the fans is absolutely understandable. Especially when other figureheads of the sport, such as Roger Federer, are not participating in the tournament. And yet, in the end, petitions like these are rarely crowned with success. This is primarily due to the fact that governments are reluctant to create such precedents, which will force them in the future to examine such special permits for other personalities as well.

Djokovic’s trainer Goran Ivanisevic also has only slight hopes that his protégé can still travel to New York. In an interview with “La Repubblica”, he says: “Personally, I have zero hope that Biden can change the rules before the tournament starts.” For Ivanisevic, however, all the Covid requirements in the USA are “absolute nonsense” anyway, as he goes on to say. “If you’re vaccinated but positive you can enter the United States, if you’re not vaccinated but negative you can’t. There is too much politics in sport in this country.”

It is clear to Ivanisevic that he cannot do anything about it. And so he too can only wait to see whether a loophole actually opens up. If not, there is only the hope that Djokovic will not end up facing a similar fiasco as in Melbourne.



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