SO Novak Djokovic falls foul of Covid-19 rules again.
Djokovic will not play the upcoming US Open because the event will follow US government rules on vaccination. And Djokovic is still against vaccination.
Under current rules all non-citizens must be fully vaccinated to enter the US.
But one American has described the news as “crazy”.
Former world No.1 John McEnroe described the prospect of Djokovic missing the final Slam of the year as “crazy” this week, adding: “We have to find a way to get Novak into the US Open.”
“How can he not be there? He has just won Wimbledon, he is a great champion and he should be in the US Open,” McEnroe told Tennis 365.
“I don’t agree with his decision not to get vaccinated, but I respect it. He is one of the fittest guys in the world and everything he puts into his body, he is watching carefully.
“Now we are saying that because of his choice, he can’t play at the US Open. I mean, come on. He has already been deported from Australia for the same reason and here we are again.
“I hope someone finds a way to sort this out. It’s crazy that Novak misses the US Open at this stage.”
That prospect is not going to happen after the US Open issued a statement on the matter last week:
“The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the US government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens.”
Meanwhile, a former United Nations Assistant Secretary-General has caused a row in Australia, saying he believes Novak Djokovic was deported in January for political reasons.
Ramesh Thakur, now an Emeritus Professor at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, wrote in an article for the US Brownstone Institute the decision “was neither medical nor legal but political.”
Professor Thakur suggested an unvaccinated Djokovic winning the Australian Open would be a blow to the vaccine propaganda in Australia, but failed to mention the level of public anger at Djokovic’s actions, the border closures and restrictions Australians were under or the fact the Serb had lied on his entry documents when arriving in Melbourne.
Djokovic was subsequently handed a three-year ban from entering the country.
RENATA Voracova was given the all-clear to travel to Australia again last week after a tribunal overturned her visa cancellation during the Australian Open in January.
The Czech player’s case is different to that of Novak Djokovic as she was allowed to enter the country on December 30 as she had a medical exemption for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Australia’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal found that the Czech had followed the correct procedures and did not break any rules with her medical exemption, unlike Djokovic.
Voracova had opted to leave Australia “as a lawful non-citizen” after negotiations with the Australian Border Force.
ONE player who does look likely to play New York is Venus Williams.
At 42, Venus announced last week she is back and will play the National Bank Open in Toronto, which begins on August 5.
Williams accepted a wildcard invitation into the main draw and will join her sister Serena at the event.
Venus Williams has not played a singles match since the Chicago Women’s Open last August, where she lost in the first round to Hsieh Su-Wei.
She made her debut in the event in 1995 as a 15-year-old wild-card entry, losing to Sabine Appelmans in the opening round.
THE road to recovering is often a long one – just ask Alexander Zverev.
Zverev has not played since tearing ligaments in his right ankle during the semi-final with Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in May.
“The days are very long. You start very early and finish in the evening. We do a lot of exercises, there are always new ones that are added permanently, Zverev told Eurosport last week.
“The healing process is going very well.
“I’m making important progress every day and I’m looking forward to the next tasks that will bring me closer and closer to the tennis court.
“An exact date for a comeback hasn’t been set yet, but I’m working every day to make sure it happens as soon as possible.”
The US Open too soon? Probably, although the German is still hopeful.
FORMER world No. 1 Andy Murray has sold his home in Surrey, south of London, for $3.4m after having a new mansion built nearby.
Murray put the property, which has five bedrooms, a swimming pool, cinema room, sauna and gym.on the market last year.
Murray’s new home is a few miles away in the town of Leatherhead, and has a tennis court in its 28 acres of grounds.
On court, Murray withdrew from next week’s Atlanta Open a few days ago.
He was set to play the ATP 250 event but will now concentrate on the ATP 500 in Washington ahead of the US Open.
STAYING with the Brits, Emma Raducanu has been urged to hire Naomi Osaka’s former coach Wim Fissette.
The Belgian has an impressive resume, having previously coached Victoria Azarenka, Kim Clijsters, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Osaka.
Simon Briggs, the London Daily Telegraph’s tennis correspondent, wrote in a column on Friday that Fisette could be the spark Raducanu needs to recharge her career.
But he cautioned as well: “The more important point, though, relates to the eccentric way in which Raducanu and her management (which includes not only IMG but her family) have gone about building on last summer’s miracles.
“Together, they have ignored every precedent established over more than 50 years of professional tennis …”
But the other key stumbling block may be the cost. Fisette’s record means he will not come cheap.
And then there’s the list of previous coaches who have been cast aside as the Raducanus have gone their own way.
WTF moment …
Raducanu could also face a massive rankings drop next month.
The rankings system runs on a rolling 12-month system, which means 2040 points will drop off her total before she strikes a ball in New York.
2000 points from her US Open win and 40 from her run in qualifying for that event.
Currently, Raducanu only has 2717 points, so losing 2040 of those will mean she drops to just 667 ranking points and to No.96 in the world.
WTF Moment #2 …
Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti tried an underarm serve on match point in his Hamburg Open semi-final against Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo yesterday – and it went horribly wrong.
Musetti won the first set 6-3 and was serving for the match.
Cerundolo won the point and broke the Musetti serve to take the set into a tie-break.
Luckily, Musetti won the tie break 7-3, but he admitted after the match that he confused himself with his moment of madness.
“I don’t know why I did the underarm serve, but it didn’t work,” he admitted in his on court interview. “I’m just glad I had the chance to finish the match in the tie-break.”
THE ATP has cancelled all four of its tournaments in China this year, citing COVID-19 restrictions.
The Rolex Shanghai Masters, China Open, Chengdu Open and Zhuhai Championships were called off by the ATP last week, the third consecutive year the tour has scrapped its China swing.
The ATP has replaced the events with six tournaments on single-year event licenses – San Diego on September 19-25; Seoul, South Korea, and Tel Aviv, Israel, on September 26 to October 2; Florence, Italy, and Gijon, Spain, on October 10-16 and Naples, Italy, on October 17-23.
AND finally … World No.1 Iga Swiatek hosted the “Swiatek & Friends for Ukraine” charity exhibition in Krakow, Poland on Saturday.
Joined by former World No.2 Agnieszka Radwanska, 2018 WTA Finals Champion Elina Svitolina, ATP player Sergiy Stakhovsky and rising Polish junior Martyn Pawelski, Swiatek entertained her home crowd in mixed doubles and singles.