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US Open and USTA 'hopeful' Novak Djokovic wins petition to play in United States

Novak Djokovic hasn't played in the U.S. since 2021. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic hasn't played in the U.S. since 2021. (Photo by Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic's petition to play tennis in the United States despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19 officially has the support of the country's governing body for the sport as well as its biggest tournament.

The US Open tweeted Friday it hoped Djokovic would be allowed to play in the United States for the first time since 2021. Djokovic recently asked U.S. officials for special permission to enter the country to play at Indian Wells on Mar. 6 and the Miami Open on Mar. 19.

The U.S. still doesn't allow unvaccinated international travelers to enter the country and the Transportation Security Administration recently said its policy would not change until at least mid-April. That would make Djokovic ineligible to play at Indian Wells and Miami unless he gets an exemption from the U.S. government. If the policy is lifted by mid-April, Djokovic could be allowed to play at the US Open starting Aug. 28.

"Everything is currently in the process," Djokovic said on his petition via the Associated Press. "I have a big desire to be there.

"I am really thankful to the Indian Wells and Miami tournament [officials] and community for their support publicly, and they would like me to be able to play in their tournaments."

Djokovic's vaccination status has been a point of contention since he was deported from Australia just before the Australian Open in Jan. 2022. He had won the previous three tournaments there and went on to win the 2023 Australian Open to break the all-time Grand Slam title. Djokovic also missed the US Open, Indian Wells and the Miami Open in 2022. Djokovic went on to win Wimbledon in 2022.

He just lost to Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships, which broke a 20-match win streak for the 35-year-old Serbian. Djokovic is the No. 1 ranked player, per ATP.