Djokovic and Williams on US Open roster, but that doesn’t mean they’ll play

However, the inclusion does not mean that either will definitely play.

This month, Williams returned to the Grand Slams at Wimbledon after a year-long hiatus, but was knocked out in the first round after a three-hour, 11-minute fight against France’s Harmony Tan.

But Williams, who turned 40 last September, is refusing to give up her pursuit of a record 24th Grand Slam title, five years after she won her last title at the Australian Open. She currently competes in tournaments this summer in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Meanwhile, more than 23,000 people have signed an online petition on change.org calling on the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the US government to allow Djokovic to compete in Grand Slams.

Djokovic’s refusal of the Covid-19 vaccine has hampered his participation in tournaments around the world: the Serb failed to defend his title at the Australian Open in January after deported after a period of detention.

He later told the BBC he would be willing to skip tournaments to maintain his unvaccinated status, and he withdrew from several tournaments throughout the year, including in the US such as the Miami Open and Indian Wells.

Russian and Belarusian players allowed to the US Open

He competed in two Grand Slams this year: at the French Open, where he lost in the quarter-finals to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon, where he won his fourth tournament in a row, defeating Australian Nick Kyrgios in the final.

“According to the Grand Slam Rulebook, all eligible players are automatically entered into the main draw of men’s and women’s singles based on rankings 42 days prior to the first Monday of the tournament,” the USTA said in a statement Wednesday.

“The US Open does not have a mandate to vaccinate players, but will respect the position of the US government regarding the entry of unvaccinated non-US citizens into the country,” the organizations added.

He is currently unable to enter the United States, and his participation in the Australian Open is also in doubt due to laws that could ban him from entering the country for another three years. Djokovic’s next Grand Slam appearance could be the 2023 French Open.

CNN’s Jill Martin, Issy Ronald and George Ramsay contributed to the coverage.