Wimbledon champ Djokovic hoping U.S. will change vaccination rules before U.S. Open

The unvaccinated tennis star says he knows the odds are slim he will be able to compete in the U.S. this year.
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Novak Djokovic of Serbia competes against Marin Cilic of Croatia during the 2021 Davis Cup Finals semifinal between Croatia and Serbia in Madrid, Spain
Novak Djokovic of Serbia competes against Marin Cilic of Croatia during the 2021 Davis Cup Finals semifinal between Croatia and Serbia in Madrid, Spain
(Xinhua News Agency / Getty Images)

Tennis star Novak Djokovic, who over the weekend won his seventh Wimbledon title, says that he remains hopeful U.S. authorities will change the rules that require foreign visitors to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in time for him to compete in the U.S. Open later this summer.

"I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter United States or exemption," he told reporters over the weekend, while acknowledging the odds are likely not in his favor.

At present, all non-immigrant non-citizens are required to provide proof of COVID vaccination prior to boarding a flight to the U.S.

In April, the Department of Homeland Security extended the rule, writing that it would "closely monitor all relevant circumstances, including the effect of these requirements" and may change them in the future. 

Virus cases in the U.S. are ticking up with the spread of the highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 variants, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say make up 70% of current cases. 

Earlier this year, Djokovic became the center of a global controversy when he was barred from competing in the Australian Open due to being unvaccinated. He was additionally detained by Australian authorities upon arrival due to confusion in terms of his eligibility to enter the country without being vaccinated.

The association in charge of the French Open and Wimbledon, Roland-Garros, allowed Djokovic to compete despite not being vaccinated.