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Unvaccinated Djokovic pulls out of Cincinnati Masters

Novak Djokovic

Bengaluru, August 13: Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic has pulled out of next week's hard-court tournament in Cincinnati as he has not gotten any coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine shots and hence is not allowed to travel to the United States.

That is also why Djokovic is not expected to be able to enter the US Open, the year's last Grand Slam tournament, which begins in New York from August 29.

The 35-year-old who owns 21 Grand Slamss, just one behind Rafael Nadal for the men's record will now have to wait for more time to be on top,

The Serbian ace has said he will not get vaccinated against the illness caused by the COVID-19, even if that prevents him from playing in certain tournaments.

He missed the Australian Open in January after being deported from that country and needed to sit out two events in the United States earlier this year, along with a tournament in Montreal this week.

Unvaccinated foreign citizens are not allowed to go to Canada or the US currently; the Cincinnati tournament's news release announcing Djokovic's withdrawal cited "travel restrictions."

Change of policy

Change of policy

Djokovic has said he was still holding out hope of being able to enter the US Open, but that would require a change of government policy, which the US Tennis Association says it will adhere to.

Djokovic is a three-time champion at New York and was the runner-up last year to Daniil Medvedev.

Major pull outs

Major pull outs

Other men who have withdrawn from the field in Cincinnati include defending champion Alexander Zverev -- the 2020 US Open runner-up tore ankle ligaments at the French Open in June - and injured players Gael Monfils, Reilly Opelka, Oscar Otte and Dominic Thiem.

Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins pulled out of the women's draw because of a neck injury, while three-time major champion Angelique Kerber made a scheduling change and opted not to compete in Cincinnati.

Serena confirmed

Serena confirmed

Meanwhile, Serena Williams is entered in the field for what is expected to be one of her last appearances on the WTA tour. The American great had announced that she will be hanging up her racquets soon.

Though the 40-year-old did not reveal the exact time, it is presumed that the US Open will be the 23-time Grand Slam champion's swansong. Serena, who will soon turn 41, is one title shy of Margaret Court's all-time record and appears set for one last shot at matching the Australian at the Flushing Meadows, where she has triumphed six times.

Farewell moment

Farewell moment

Serena bid an emotional farewell to Toronto recently, where she she was knocked out of the Canadian Open 2-6, 4-6 by 12th seed Belinda Bencic.

"It's been a pretty interesting 24 hours. Like I said in my article, I'm terrible at goodbyes," she said, her voice breaking. "But, goodbye," she said, then adding with a laugh "Toronto." "It's been a joy playing here all of those years."

Before she left the court she was presented with jerseys from the NBA's Toronto Raptors and NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs - and with a child's version of the same for daughter Olympia.

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Story first published: Saturday, August 13, 2022, 12:34 [IST]
Other articles published on Aug 13, 2022