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By Richard Pagliaro | Tuesday, January 31, 2023


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will be able to play for hard-court history at the 2023 US Open, but he won't be permitted to play Indian Wells or Miami.

Photo credit: Garrett Ellwood/USTA

Novak Djokovic will be permitted to play for hard-court history at the 2023 US Open.

The world No. 1, who remains unvaccinated, is currently ineligible to enter the United States under COVID-19 protocol. That rules Djokovic out of the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami. However, the U.S. government announced it will lift emergency pandemic protocol for international travelers on May 11th.

More: Nadal, Federer Congratulate Djokovic

The decision opens the door for Djokovic to return to Flushing Meadows for the first time since 2021.

In the 2021 US Open final, a masterful Daniil Medvedev deconstructed a weary Djokovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-4 denying the world No. 1 his dream of capturing the calendar Grand Slam.

The 35-year-old Serbian superstar was unable to play the 2022 US Open or US Open Series because he's unable to enter the United States as an unvaccinated international traveler.

Tennis Express

Deported from Australia in January, 2022 due to his unvaccinated status, Djokovic made comeback coronation in Melbourne this month. 

The No. 4-seeded Djokovic dismantled Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) to capture his record-extending 10th Australian Open title and claim his 22nd career Grand Slam championship matching rival Rafael Nadal's men's major mark.

In the process, Djokovic extended his AO winning streak to 28 matches, stretched his winning streak on Australian soil to 41 matches and regained the world no. 1 ranking.

It was Djokovic's 13th hard-court Grand Slam title, which matches Serena Williams for most hard-court Grand Slam championships. Djokovic will try to break the record he shares with Serena in his return to New York, where he's experienced major highs and lows.


A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole)

Djokovic owns an 81-13 US Open record, including his run to his third Flushing Meadows crown in 2018 when he scored a straight-sets win over Juan Martin del Potro.

In 2019, Djokovic lost to Stan Wawrinka in the Flushing Meadows fourth round. At the 2020 US Open, Djokovic made ignominious history when he was booted from his fourth-round match vs. Pablo Carreno Busta after accidentally striking lineswoman in the throat with a ball.

Despite all the controversy, in the defeat of the 2021 US Open final, Djokovic gained what has been so long denied from him in so many major finals: the pure love and respect from the faithful. The world No. 1 looked deeply moved in his last appearance on Arthur Ashe Stadium and thanked fans even stopping on his way off the court to take selfies and sign autographs in a show of appreciation. 

"I would like to say that tonight even though I have not won the match my heart is filled with joy and I’m the happiest man alive because you guys make me feel very special on court," Djokovic said. "You guys touch my soul. I never felt like this in New York. I love you guys. Thank you so much for your support and everything you have done tonight for me. I love you and I will see you soon.""

After his straight-sets sweep of Tsitsipas in Sunday's Australian Open final, Djokovic said his goal is to continue collecting major championships.

"I really don't want to stop here. I don't have intention to stop here," Djokovic told the media in Melbourne. "I feel great about my tennis. I know that when I'm feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any slam against anybody.

"I like my chances going forward. But, again, nothing is given or nothing is for granted. Of course, awareness there's a lot of players that want this trophy or want the No. 1 position in the world."


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