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Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic on Entry List for 2022 US Open

Serena Williams of the USA will play for a record-tying 24th major championship at next month’s US Open.. EPA-EFE/JASON SZENES

The summer of Serena will climax in New York.

Twenty-three-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams and 21-time major champion Novak Djokovic are both on the entry list for the 2022 US Open.

Wimbledon champion Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, would not be permitted entry into the United States under current regulations for foreign travelers.

The US Open said it does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, however it “will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens.” 

“Per the Grand Slam Rule Book, all eligible players are automatically entered into the men’s and women’s singles main draw fields based on ranking 42 days prior to the first Monday of the event,” the US Open announced. “The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but it will respect the U.S. government’s position regarding travel into the country for unvaccinated non-U.S. citizens.”

That statement means under current governmental policy Djokovic would not be permitted entry to the United States. The former No. 1 will need a U.S. government policy change before the August 29th start of the Flushing Meadows major in order to play.

Asked to assess his prospect of playing New York, Djokovic said he’s hopeful but not overly optimistic.

“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter United States or exemption,” Djokovic told the media at Wimbledon earlier this month. “I don’t know. I don’t think exemption is realistically possible. If that is possibility, I don’t know what exemption would be about. I don’t know. I don’t have much answers there.

“I think it’s just whether or not they remove this in time for me to get to USA.”

The 2022 US Open main draw runs Monday, August 29th to Sunday, September 11th, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y. US Open Fan Week, which features the Qualifying Tournament, begins on Tuesday, August 23rd.

Serena Williams, who has also entered Toronto and Cincinnati in preparation for the US Open, will play for her 24th Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all-time major mark.

In her 21st Wimbledon appearance last month, Serena Williams succumbed to world No. 115 Harmony Tan 7-5, 1-6, 7-6(10) in a dramatic and wildly entertaining Centre Court thriller. It was just the third opening-round exit of Williams’ Grand Slam career and she said it motivated her to play the US Open where she won her maiden major in 1999 at age 17.

“I mean, when you’re at home, especially in New York, and the US Open, that being the first place I’ve won a Grand Slam, is something that’s always super special,” Serena said. “Your first time is always special. There’s definitely, you know, lots of motivation to get better and to play at home.”

The 40-year-old Serena last played the US Open in 2020 losing to Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals.

The United States leads all nations with 15 women and 13 men earning direct entry into Flushing Meadows.

The American women in the field include six-time singles champion Serena Williams, who entered with a special ranking (No. 16), and Top-10 players Jessica Pegula and Danielle Collins.

The American men are led by No. 13 Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz and No. 17 Reilly Opelka, with three more Americans among the first five alternates.

Both the men’s and women’s entries were based on the July 18 rankings.