Novak Djokovic hopes Covid rules change ahead of US Open

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic kisses the winner’s cup after defeating Australia’s Nick Kyrgios in the men’s singles final on the fourteenth day of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships in London.

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Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is hoping the rules for competing against Covid-19 in America will be changed just in time for his fourth US Open title this summer.

Djokovic, who defeated Nick Kyrgios in four sets to lift the Wimbledon crown for the fourth time in a row – and only seven times – on Sunday, has consistently refused his Covid vaccination.

That position cost the 35-year-old the opportunity to compete in the Australian Open earlier this year after a lengthy standoff with Australian authorities, but he hopes that could change when Flushing Meadows kicks off in August.

“I am not vaccinated and do not plan to be vaccinated,” Djokovic said. “So the only good news I can report is that they have eliminated the mandatory green vaccination card or whatever you call it for entry into the United States or exemption.

“I don’t know, I don’t think release is really possible. If it’s possible, I don’t know what the release will be about.

“I don’t have many answers there. I think it’s just a question of whether they’ll remove it in time for me to get to the US.

“Regardless of whether I play any tournament in the near future, I will definitely take a break for the next few weeks because it has been quite a tiring and demanding period for me.

“Then I’ll hope for good news from the US, because I really would like to go there.”

Djokovic, who became only the fourth Open Era player to win four Wimbledon titles in a row, admitted that his success against Kyrgios brought a sense of “relief”, especially after his protracted deportation from Australia.

“Historically, Wimbledon has always been at such an important stage in my life and my career,” he added. “It was in 2018 when I started the year with elbow surgery, trying to get back in the rankings but not playing well.

“It’s no coincidence that this place is so important in my life and career. It’s also a relief given what I’ve been through this year – of course it adds more value, more meaning and more emotion.

“I have said many times that this tournament is special to me because it was the first tournament I watched as a child that made me start playing tennis.

“The more you win, the more logical, the more confident, the more comfortable you feel the next time you step on the court. So the run continues and I no doubt feel very connected to this court and this tournament.”

Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic, who reached the Wimbledon final four times in his playing career, winning the tournament in 2001, said he always remained confident the top seed would bounce back from the Australian Open disappointment.

“Some people don’t get better – they’ll never play tennis,” Ivanisevic said. “It was a big shock. It was a shock for me, and I was free – imagine for him.

“It’s really heroic for me, because it was not easy to digest and return to playing tennis. In people like him, there is no doubt that he is a great champion.

“He just needed to find peace. As I said, it was not easy to plan anything, because one week he can play, and the next week he cannot play in this tournament.

“It was not easy, but this is the result. This trophy, this joy on center court, it’s so beautiful. It pays off.”