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Novak Djokovic missing US Open over Covid vaccine status and travel rules would be 'a joke', says John McEnroe

Novak Djokovic looks set to be denied entry at the US Open due to not having the Covid vaccine which ruled him out from playing at Australian Open at start of year; Serbian in search of his 22nd men's singles Grand Slam title after victory at Wimbledon this summer.

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Highlights from day 14 of The Championships at the All England Club as Novak Djokovic used all his experience to see off a valiant Nick Kyrgios.

Four-times US Open winner John McEnroe said it would be "a joke" if Novak Djokovic is unable to compete at the final Grand Slam of the year starting later this month due to his Covid vaccination status.

Djokovic has refused to take the vaccine and appears set to miss out due to current US rules that require travellers to show proof of full vaccination to board flights to and enter the United States.

The Serbian previously said he was prepared to miss Grand Slam tournaments that require participating players to be vaccinated against Covid. Currently, Djokovic remains on the entry list for the August 29-September 11 tournament in New York.

Novak Djokovic celebrates 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 looks set to miss the US Open

"I don't think it's fair," McEnroe told reporters on Tuesday. "I think it's a joke.

"I would have had the vaccine and gone and played but he's got very strong beliefs and you have to respect that.

"At this point, in the pandemic, we're two-and-a-half years in, I think people in all parts of the world know more about it, and the idea that he can't travel here to play, to me is a joke."

Djokovic was unable to defend his Australian Open crown this year after being deported from the country over his vaccination status in January.

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Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns to Australia's Nick Kyrgios
Image: Djokovic made the final of the US Open in 2021 , losing to Daniil Medvedev

Rafa Nadal claimed victory in the tournament in Melbourne to move clear of Djokovic and Roger Federer with his 21st major trophy. Nadal then went on to add another Grand Slam title to his tally at the French Open, keeping him ahead of Djokovic, who won Wimbledon last month.

When asked if Djokovic's chances of finishing above his rivals in terms of Grand Slam victories were being affected by his absences from major tournaments, McEnroe said: "That's the question that we all want to know the answer to.

"Obviously, Rafa Nadal has benefited from that. If a guy has won the Australian Open eight or nine times, you would think (Djokovic blew) a chance in a way.

"These three guys are already above everyone else. Rafa was able to pull off a miraculous win that not many people expected in Australia. Novak got there at Wimbledon and then Rafa got hurt."

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