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5 Aug, 2022 08:05

Djokovic out of North American showpiece

The Serb has been forced to pull out due to his vaccine status
Djokovic out of North American showpiece

Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the Canadian Open in Montreal, organizers announced on Thursday. Djokovic is not allowed into Canada because he is unvaccinated against Covid-19. 

The Serb's withdrawal from the event, which begins next week and is an ATP Masters 1000 tournament, places further doubts over Djokovic's bid to be cleared for the US Open at the end of August. 

As things stand, Djokovic will not be able to compete at the tournament in New York, which he has won three times, because his vaccine status means he will not be allowed into the US. 

The US Open itself does not have a vaccine requirement in place for players, but has said it respects the stance of the American government.

Djokovic repeated after his Wimbledon triumph last month that he has no plans to get vaccinated against Covid-19, even if that means he will be deprived of the chance of winning more titles. 

The 35-year-old tweeted on Saturday that he is still "preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to US," adding "fingers crossed!" 

The US government has faced calls to allow Djokovic into the country to play at the New York showpiece. 

American tennis legend John McEnroe has described the situation as "ridiculous", while the Serbian diaspora has directly petitioned President Joe Biden to intervene. 

Should Djokovic be forced to miss the hard court event  at Flushing Meadows, as seems likely, it will be the second Grand Slam of the year where he has been sidelined due to his vaccine position.

Djokovic was infamously deported from Australia at the start of the year, and could face a three-year re-entry ban to the country. 

He did return for the French Open, losing to eventual winner Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals, before bouncing back to win Wimbledon, which was his 21st Grand Slam crown, putting him just one behind Nadal in the all-time stakes. 

At the Canadian Open, Russia's Daniil Medvedev will be the defending champion, while Djokovic has won the tournament four times down the years, the last of which was in 2016.

World number one Medvedev will also be reigning champion at the US Open, having beaten Djokovic in last year's final in New York.