Unvaxxed tennis champion denied entry to US, forced to bow out of US Open

Tennis star Novak Djokovic took to Twitter on Thursday to announce that he will not be competing in the U.S. Open, being that he is ineligible as an unvaccinated person to enter the United States — this coming despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s revised guidelines now being the same for both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion, who has had Covid-19 at least twice, was banned from playing in Australia earlier this year for being unvaccinated against Covid-19, but was allowed to compete in other countries like France and Britain, which have relaxed their travel restrictions. Unvaccinated foreigners are still not allowed to enter the U.S.

Djokovic tweeted: “Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open. Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. ❤️ Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. 💪🏼 See you soon tennis world! 👋🏼”

Djokovic won his 21st Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in July and said at the time that it was unlikely that he would play in the U.S. Open.

“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 said, according to The New York Times, adding, “I don’t think exemption is realistically possible. If that is possibility, I don’t know what exemption would be about.”

He would later acknowledge that he was holding out hope that he would be able to compete.

Oh, by the way, Moderna is sponsoring the U.S. Open, as Dr. Clare Craig, a diagnostic pathologist, reminded followers on Twitter.

In an article published on Substack, Craig noted that the CDC relaxed many of its Covid guidelines after they acknowledged that “most Americans have returned to many aspects of pre-pandemic life,” before questioning whether Djokovic is being “trolled by Moderna.”

“Within the last few hours, Novax Djokovic has been forced to withdraw from the US Open because of his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19,” Craig wrote. “This is despite him having natural immunity via his previous infections. This is despite him being one of the fittest men on the planet and so extremely unlikely to die from COVID-19. And this is despite vaccinated individuals being just as likely to catch and transmit SARS-CoV-2.”

“If Moderna have pressured the CDC not to change the entry requirements then not only are they trolling Djokovic but also any unvaccinated person who cannot enter the US,” Craig would conclude. “It would be unthinkable that friends and families could still not reunite due to Moderna not wanting to lose face.”

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:

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