‘Not planning to get vaccinated’: Novak Djokovic after Wimbledon win

Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic hopes US authorities will change entry rules in time to allow him to compete at the US Open, even if he refuses to get a coronavirus shot. The Serbian top seed beat Nick Kyrgios in four sets on Sunday to win his seventh All England Club title and 21st Grand Slam crown overall, leaving him just one behind Rafael Nadal.

He is now aiming for a fourth US Open crown after losing to Daniil Medvedev in the final last year.

But as it stands, his unvaccinated status means he will not be allowed to enter the United States to compete in the tournament, which begins next month.

“I’m not vaccinated and I don’t plan to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is they’re removing the mandatory vaccine green card or whatever you call it to get in in the United States or an exemption,” said the 35-year-old.

“I don’t think the exemption is realistically possible…I think it’s fair whether or not they remove this in time for me to get to the United States.”

The Serb was expelled from Australia due to his vaccination status in January, preventing him from defending his Australian Open title.

Djokovic admitted that the start of the year was difficult and it took him months to recover.

“It definitely affected me in the first few months of the year,” he said. “I didn’t feel good in general. I mean, mentally, emotionally, I wasn’t in the right place.

“I wanted to play, but at the same time when I stepped onto the court in Dubai, the first tournament of the year, I felt so much pressure and emotions.

“I didn’t feel on the court. I realized at that moment that it’s going to take time, that I have to be patient, and sooner or later I will find myself in the state, the state optimal, where I would like to be.”

“Difficult year”

Djokovic’s coach, former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic, said it had been a “difficult year” for the player.

But he said he never doubted Djokovic would recover, describing him as “heroic”.

“People like him, you don’t doubt that,” he said. “He’s a great champion. They say it may have taken him a long time, but it didn’t take him long.

“It took him exactly the time he needed to recover and process everything that happened to him.”

Djokovic, whose Wimbledon triumph was his fourth in a row at the All England Club, said he was now taking a well-deserved holiday.

“I’m on vacation,” he said. “Whether or not I play a tournament soon, I will definitely rest for the next two weeks as it has been quite an exhausting and demanding time for me over the past few months.

“A lot of tennis, which I was very happy with. I got what I wanted here. Then I will hopefully wait for good news from the United States, because I would really like to go there.”

The former world number one said he doesn’t feel pressured to play a certain schedule.

“I’ve reached that historic No. 1, weeks to No. 1, that I’ve worked my whole life for. Now that it’s done and dusted off, I’m really prioritizing Slams and big tournaments and where I want to play, where I feel good.”

Djokovic also said he felt lifted by the Wimbledon crowd on Sunday – he often faced an uphill battle to win over the fans when he played against Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal.

“I really felt the support and the love from the crowd today, so I’m very grateful for that,” he said.

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“Obviously it’s no secret that any player would love to have people supporting them during the game because at the end of the day it could make a big difference to how you feel mentally.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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