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Djokovic on track to play U.S. Open, but out of Indian Wells and Miami

Novak Djokovic should be good to go for the 2022 U.S. Open.

The United States government announced on Tuesday that it will end its emergency Covid-19 measures on May 11. On that date unvaccinated foreigners will be able to travel to the USA. That means Djokovic can freely enter the country later this year and participate in the season’s fourth and final Grand Slam, which begins in late August.

The 35-year-old’s recent relationship with the U.S. Open has been tumultuous. He was infamously defaulted out of the 2020 event during a fourth-round match against Pablo Carreno Busta after blasting a ball in frustration that hit a lineswoman in the throat. In 2021 he lost the final to Daniil Medvedev in straight sets with the calendar-year Grand Slam on the line. Djokovic could not play last summer due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Assuming the Serb can play in 2023, he can only hope his return goes as well as it did in Melbourne. Djokovic was deported out of Australia prior to the 2022 Australian Open but won the tournament for a 10th time this year after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) in Sunday’s championship match. That leaves Djokovic and Rafael Nadal tied at the top of the all-time men’s singles Grand Slam titles list with 22, and there is a decent chance they could be tied at 23 heading into the U.S. Open with the French Open and Wimbledon up next on the schedule.

Djokovic won’t, however, be able to extend his lead over Nadal in the Masters 1000 title count (currently 38 to 36) in the immediate future. Since the United States is not changing its policy until May, the world No. 1 will once again be unable to participate at the Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami–which are taking place in March.

“You know my position, so it is what it is,” Djokovic said earlier this year. “I’m hoping (to play Indian Wells and Miami), but if I can’t go, I can’t go.”

“It would be nice to see if we could maybe lift those a little earlier and have him come to play Indian Wells and Miami,” IW tournament director Tommy Haas said in a recent interview. “I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance. Hopefully we can have him there.”

That won’t be the case, but the U.S. Open is a much more important destination for Djokovic and–at least for now–he has the green light for New York.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.