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Novak Djokovic's US Open hopes suffer blow after tournament vows to respect US government policy on Covid-19 vaccine

Serena Williams is on the entry list for the women's side of the US Open draw which is headed by world No 1 Iga Swiatek; Andy Murray, Cam Norrie and defending women’s champion Emma Raducanu are the top British names on the list for the Grand Slam in New York

Novak Djokovic in action at the US Open in 2019
Image: Novak Djokovic is not allowed to enter the USA due to his vaccination status

Novak Djokovic's hopes of playing in the US Open suffered another blow after the tournament said it would respect the United States government's rules on the Covid-19 vaccine.

The 35-year-old – a three-time champion at Flushing Meadows – was named on the entry list for the final Grand Slam of the year on Wednesday, but that is routine, rather than an indication that he will be allowed to play.

He was listed in the field for the final Grand Slam of the year alongside British pair Andy Murray and Emma Raducanu, who is hoping to defend the title she won as a qualifier last year.

Serena Williams
Image: Serena Williams will be back in Grand Slam action

Six-time winner Serena Williams will also be in the field hoping to equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Grand Slam titles at the age of 40.

Djokovic, who would be aiming to join Rafael Nadal at the top of the all-time men's list on 22 with victory in New York looks unlikely to play though, despite having earlier spoken of his hopes for a reprieve.

The US requires non-citizens to be fully vaccinated against coronavirus to enter, meaning Djokovic, who has made it repeatedly clear that he will not take the vaccine, will not be allowed entry.

A statement from the US Open, which does not have its own vaccination rules, read: "Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men's and women's singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event.

"The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government's position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens."

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Novak Djokovic admits he was disappointed to be thrown out of the Australian Open because of his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine

Djokovic's stance already cost him the chance to compete in the Australian Open earlier this year and it looks likely to do so again.

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While Djokovic is highly unlikely to be in New York, another former champion will be after Williams was named on the entry list.

Williams, a six-time winner, signalled her intent to contest her home Grand Slam after signing up to play the bulk of the US hard-court swing, including events in Toronto and Cincinnati.

Great Britain's Kyle Edmund is also set to enter his first singles event at a grand slam in two years.

The 27-year-old's career has been derailed by a knee injury but he made his comeback at Wimbledon, playing in the mixed doubles.

And he has used his protected ranking of 48 to ensure, health pending, he will be included in the main draw.

Petition for Djokovic to play

Novak Djokovic celebrates with the Trophy following his victory over Nick Kyrgios in The Final of the Gentlemen's Singles on day fourteen of the 2022 Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. Picture date: Sunday July 10, 2022.
Image: Djokovic claimed his seventh Wimbledon title and 21st Grand Slam success

Almost 12,000 people have now signed an online petition calling for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to work with the country's government to allow Djokovic to compete in the US Open despite his refusal to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

"There is absolutely no reason at this stage of the pandemic to not allow Djokovic to play at the US Open 2022," said the petition, which was launched on June 21.

"(The) US Government and USTA must work together to allow him to play ... MAKE IT HAPPEN, USTA!"

The Serb, who retained his Wimbledon crown with a win over Australia's Nick Kyrgios earlier this month, in February said he was prepared to miss Grand Slam tournaments rather than take the Covid-19 vaccine.

The main draw at the US Open begins on August 29.

Williams, Raducanu named in star-studded field for Cincinnati Open

Emma Raducanu was beaten in the second round at the Australian Open
Image: Emma Raducanu won the US Open as a qualifier last year

Ahead of the US Open, Williams is set to take part in the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati next month with her protected ranking, organisers of the US Open tune-up tournament said on Tuesday.

She will be joined by Raducanu, who will be using the event to prepare for her defence of her Grand Slam crown at Flushing Meadows, where she won her maiden major title last year.

Williams, who returned to the Tour after a year out last month, fell in the first round at Wimbledon but has shown she is not yet ready to hang up her racket even though she is two months shy of her 41st birthday.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion is also set to play at the National Bank Open in Toronto from August 6-14 after she elected to use her protected ranking to enter the main draw.

Williams, the oldest player in the men's and women's fields this year, has won the tournament in Cincinnati twice in her career in 2014 and 2015 while she was runner-up in 2013.

The August 13-21 tournament will be headlined by Daniil Medvedev and Iga Swiatek.

Former women's champions in the field include Victoria Azarenka, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova.

Other Grand slam champions in the women's draw include Raducanu, Naomi Osaka, Simona Halep, Bianca Andreescu, Jelena Ostapenko, Barbora Krejcikova, Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and newly-crowned Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.

Djokovic and Nadal, who have won 43 majors between them, will headline the men's field which also includes former champions Alexander Zverev – who missed Wimbledon with injury – Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilic.

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