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Novak Djokovic hopes for Covid rule change ahead of U.S. Open


Novak Djokovic of Serbia kisses the winners trophy after victory over Nick Kyrgios of Australia of their Men’s Singles Final match on day fourteen of The Championships Wimbledon 2022 in London.

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Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic is hoping for a change to American Covid-19 entry rules in time for him to challenge for a fourth US Open title later this summer.

Djokovic, who defeated Nick Kyrgios in 4 sets to lift the Wimbledon crown for a fourth consecutive time — and 7 in all — on Sunday, has consistently refused Covid vaccination.

That stance cost the 35-year-old the chance to compete on the Australian Open earlier this yr after a protracted stand-off with that country’s authorities — but he hopes it may very well be a distinct story when the Flushing Meadows tournament begins in August.

“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated,” said Djokovic. “So the one excellent news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter the USA or exemption.

“I do not know, I do not think exemption is realistically possible. If that may be a possibility, I do not know what exemption can be about.

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“I do not have much answers there. I feel it’s just whether or not they remove this in time for me to get to USA.

“Whether or not I’m playing any tournament soon, I’ll definitely be resting for the following couple of weeks since it has been quite an exhausting and demanding period for me.

“Then I’ll wait hopefully for some excellent news from USA because I might really like to go there.”

Djokovic, who became only the fourth man within the Open Era to win 4 Wimbledon titles in a row, admitted his success against Kyrgios provided a way of ‘relief’, particularly within the wake of his drawn-out deportation from Australia.

“Wimbledon historically has at all times come at such necessary stages of my life and my profession,” he added. “It was in 2018 after I was starting the yr with elbow surgery, attempting to work my way back within the rankings, not playing well.

“It is not a coincidence that this place has such relevance in my life and profession. It is a relief, as well, considering what I have been through this yr — after all it adds more value and more significance and more emotions.

“I’ve said it over and over, this tournament is extraordinary for me since it has been the primary tournament I ever watched as a child that got me to begin playing tennis.

“The more you win, it’s logical the more confident, the more comfortable you are feeling next time you step out on the court. So the run keeps going and I feel very connected with this court and this tournament, undoubtedly.”

Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic, who reached 4 Wimbledon finals during his own playing profession — winning the tournament in 2001 — said he at all times remained confident the highest seed would bounce back from his Australian Open disappointment.

“For some people, they do not recuperate — they’ll never play tennis,” said Ivanisevic. “This was an enormous shock. It was a shock for me, and I used to be free — imagine for him.

“It’s really for me heroic, since it was demanding to digest and are available back to play tennis. People like him you do not doubt, he’s an ideal champion.

“He just needed to search out the peace. Like I said, it was demanding to plan anything because one week he can play, next week he cannot play at that tournament.

“It was demanding, but that is the result. This trophy, this joy on the Centre Court, it is so beautiful. That is paying off.”

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