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Over 25,000 sign petition for Novak Djokovic to play in US Open

Tennis superstar willing to sacrifice career to maintain freedom

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Yudi Sherman

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Yudi Sherman

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July 21, 2022

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01:55 PM

Over 25,000 sign petition for Novak Djokovic to play in US Open

An online petition calling for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to allow world champion Novak Djokovic to play in the US Open Tennis Championships has garnered over 25,400 signatures as of this writing. The USTA confirmed Wednesday that Djokovic, who recently took home the Wimbledon title, will be unable to play in the US Open due to his COVID-19 injection status. 

Current US policy requires all non-citizens entering the US to be injected with the COVID shots. 

"There is absolutely no reason at this stage of the pandemic to not allow Djokovic to play at the US Open 2022,” says the petition. “US Government and USTA must work together to allow him to play. If unvaccinated American players can play, Djokovic as one of the legends of the game must be allowed to play. MAKE IT HAPPEN, USTA!” 

Djokovic has become a paragon of resistance and independence for refusing to get the shots despite being shunned, sidelined and even deported from Australia over his decision. 

"I was never against vaccination," Djokovic told the BBC in February after Australia barred him from playing in the Australian Open. "I understand that globally, everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus and seeing, hopefully, an end soon to this virus." 

The tennis superstar made it clear that he is willing to sacrifice his legendary career to maintain his freedom. 

"I understand that not being vaccinated today I'm unable to travel to most of the tournaments at the moment,” he added to BBC Media Editor Amol Rajan. 

"And that's a price you're willing to pay?" Rajan asked. 

“That is the price that I'm willing to pay," Djokovic replied. 

"Ultimately, are you prepared to forgo the chance to be the greatest player to ever pick up a racquet statistically because you feel so strongly about this jab?" 

"Yes," Djokovic said. "I do." 

When asked why, the Serbian athlete responded that his body belongs to him alone:  

"Because the principles of decision making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I'm trying to be in tune with my body as much as I possibly can." 

Social media users have registered their admiration for Djokovic.

“Novak Djokovic will not only go down in history as a tennis legend but also a man with more integrity than the so-called leaders who keep banning him,” tweeted Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini. “His strength is inspiring.”

“This times infinity…” agreed actor Rob Schneider.

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