By HOWARD FENDRICH
Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic were on the official U.S. Open entry lists released on Wednesday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll play in the tournament – and in Djokovic’s case, he can’t, for now, as he’s not vaccinated against COVID- 19.
Singles entry rosters are a formality, and they include all eligible players based solely on this week’s results. WTA and ATP rankings. Williams is there by virtue of a special ranking given to her because she missed so much time through injury; his first match in a year was last month at Wimbledon, where she lost in the first round at Harmony Tan.
When asked after that loss if she would play again, the 40-year-old Williams said she didn’t know. When specifically asked about returning to the US Open, where she has won six of her 23 Grand Slam singles trophies, Williams replied: “There’s definitely a lot of motivation to improve and play at home. .”
She missed the hard-court tournament in New York last year after injuring her leg at Wimbledon. But Williams has reached at least the semifinals in each of her last 11 US Open appearances.
Djokovic, a 35-year-old Serbian, missed the Australian Open in January after being expelled from that country due to his vaccination status and has since said he will not receive COVID-19 vaccines just to be able to participate. at tournaments.
The United States does not allow unvaccinated non-citizens to enter the country, which is why Djokovic had to miss big events in Indian Wells, California and Miami earlier this season, and cannot participate in the Cincinnati Masters next month or the US Open. , which begins on August 29.
In its press release announcing the entry lists, the US Tennis Association said: “The US Open does not have a vaccination mandate in place for players, but will respect the US government’s position regarding travel. in the country for unvaccinated non-US citizens. ”
Djokovic was able to play at Roland-Garros, where he lost in the quarter-finals to eventual champion Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon, which he won for his 21st Grand Slam Title.
Only Nadal, with 22 major championships, has more among men in the history of tennis.
After his triumph at Wimbledon, where he beat Nick Kyrgios in the final, Djokovic said he would “love” to play at the US Open, but added: “I’m not planning on getting the shot.”
Djokovic won three championships at Flushing Meadows and was a runner-up half a dozen times, including a year ago. His loss in the 2021 final to Daniil Medvedev prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win a calendar-year Grand Slam.
More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports