Novak Djokovic shares emotional US Open wish after government denied request to lift ban

Novak Djokovic has shared his hope to be back at the US Open after missing the Indian Wells and Miami Masters. The world No 2 has not played in America since 2021 and had his recent vaccine waiver request denied by Homeland Security. While he has “no regrets”, Djokovic confessed that he wanted to return to New York after one of the “best moments” of his career.

Djokovic has been out of action since his Dubai semi-final defeat to Daniil Medvedev. The world No 2 had hoped to play in Indian Wells and Miami after applying for a “special permit” to enter the US but had his request turned down.

After pulling out of Indian Wells, the Serb hoped the issue could be resolved before the Miami Open but he has since withdrawn. While he says he has “no regrets”, Djokovic made it clear that he wants the restrictions to end in time for him to play the US Open.

Discussing his decision not to get jabbed despite risking missing tournaments, the 35-year-old told CNN’s Becky Anderson: “It is the conscious decision I made and I knew that there is always a possibility that I won’t go, and it is the current state or current situation that I hope will change for later this year for the US Open.”

Djokovic then went on to explain why he wanted to be at the US Open, claiming that there was a more emotional reason following his last match in New York. “That is the most important tournament for me on the American soil,” he added.

“I really want to be playing there, want to be there.” A three-time champion in Flushing Meadows, the world No 2 looked back on his last match – a defeat in the 2021 final at the hands of Daniil Medvedev.

Although he lost the match when the Calendar Grand Slam and a then-record 21st Major title was on the line, Djokovic said that match gave him one of his most important moments. He continued: “I actually had in 2021 when I lost in the finals against Medvedev, probably the one of best moments I ever had with the New York crowd and I’ve been fortunate to win that tournament three times, play many finals.

“Even though I lost that match, I received a lot of love and appreciation from people and I want to go back and I want to reconnect with the crowd there. So that’s something I’m looking forward to and hopefully it will happen.”

Djokovic was in tears before the match was even over as he was overwhelmed by the love from the crowd despite losing to Medvedev. And he will likely get his wish to return to New York this summer, with all remaining Covid restrictions in America set to end on May 11.

For now, the world No 2 will have his focus firmly on the French Open. He is currently tied with Rafael Nadal on 22 Majors – the men’s singles record – and both men will be vying to pull ahead in Paris.