Novak Djokovic has endured an “unfair year”, his coach Goran Ivanisevic has claimed while making it clear that his charge “is still hungry” for more success.
Fresh from his seventh title at Wimbledon, Djokovic said he was waiting “hopefully for some good news from USA”, but it appears very unlikely that he will receive any.
The 35-year-old has repeatedly made it clear that he will not take the vaccine. Given the US requires non-citizens to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as things stand the Serb will not be permitted to enter the country.
Ivanisevic, who has been coaching Djokovic since 2019, believes his charge has gone through a “difficult” year with the US Open set to be the second Grand Slam he will have to miss after his Australian Open nightmare at the start of the season.
“He has had a difficult, unfair year, many bad things happened to him,” Ivanisevic told Sport Klub.
“He deserved that Wimbledon, in the final there were two of the world’s best tennis players on grass, he and Nick Kyrgios.
“It is an honour and a pleasure [to coach Djokovic] – a man who has conquered everything and is still hungry and eager for success.”
“I don’t know about the US Open [entry], it’s difficult,” Ivanisevic told Croatian newspaper Slobodna Dalmacija ahead of the Croatia Open.
“I am more optimistic that I will get an invitation and win Umag than that they will let him to the US Open.
“They don’t ask for vaccination there, but as a country, they are closed to the unvaccinated, for now, he can’t enter the country.
“I respect and appreciate him, he made a decision that he will not change. When they proclaim him to be a leader, to have a bad influence on people, that is wrong.
“He doesn’t want to get vaccinated, he doesn’t want to introduce it into his body, and he never told others not to get vaccinated. I respect and support his decision.”
A statement from the US Open 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.”