The saga continues.
Some are trendy, some are forever. It feels like talk about how Novak Djokovic’s reluctance to get vaccinated against coronavirus affects his career already falls into the second category.
Last year, due to the lack of vaccination, he was scandalously and chaotically deported from Australia, but this season the Serbian returned and continued to dominate in this country – he won two titles, including the 10th Australian Open.
There were fears that the locals would not meet him very warmly – for example, the director of the Australian Open immediately warned that spectators would be kicked out of the stands for hooting and provocations against Novak. But there were no incidents – on the contrary, Djokovic was greeted so warmly that he was even touched and, after the tournament in Adelaide, signed autographs for half an hour and gave away all his things to the fans. And in an interview he thanked even a kangaroo for hospitality.
In March, the tour will move to the US, where two very large tournaments will be held – the two-week Masters in Indian Wells and Miami, each of which claims the title of the fifth Grand Slam. And Djokovic, most likely, will not be on them.
The US is the only country that hosts ATP Tour tournaments and requires foreigners to be vaccinated for entry.This requirement will be valid until May 11, so Novak will be able to play in Cincinnati and at the US Open at the end of the summer without any problems. But now he, apparently, is waiting for an extraordinary vacation.
In February, information appeared that the Serb asked to make an exception for him and let him into the country in March, despite the fact that he was not vaccinated. His younger brother George said about this: “Unfortunately, this is not in our hands. Novak needs to get a special permit because the US still doesn’t let unvaccinated foreigners into the country – which is incredible given the performances of unvaccinated athletes around the world.”
No official decision has yet been made on the expulsion, but Florida Senator Rick Scott wrote on Friday that the US Department of Homeland Security had decided to keep Djokovic out. Scott believes that President Joe Biden should intervene in the matter: “He must fix this NOW, give an exception and allow Djokovic to speak in the States.”
Supporters of Djokovic have two main complaints about the situation.
1. Vaccination is virtually no longer needed anywhere else in the world – so why is the US standing out?
By the way, they also say that, in fact, many unvaccinated people calmly enter the States, because no one really checks anything at the border. But the publicity of Djokovic’s figure, of course, cuts off for him.
2. What will change between early March and May 11?Why would Novak suddenly stop posing a threat to America’s health in those two months?
For example, John Isner wrote about this: “Don’t worry, on May 11 it will be safe enough to enter the United States. Until then, he’s too dangerous. Do not doubt science, our authorities have been doing everything right since the first days of covid.”
Djokovic himself takes the situation calmly. Even before the news from Scott, he said that if he was not allowed to America, he would simply withdraw from tournaments before the draw, give himself a little vacation, and then begin to prepare for clay: “This is the most demanding surface. It takes the most time to prepare for it.”
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