John McEnroe: Relax ‘ridiculous’ vaccine laws so Novak Djokovic can play US Open

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John McEnroe has urged the US to let Novak Djokovic enter the country (Getty Images for The Laver Cup)
John McEnroe has urged the US to let Novak Djokovic enter the country (Getty Images for The Laver Cup)

John McEnroe has called on the US to relax its “ridiculous” vaccine laws so that Novak Djokovic can challenge for a men’s record-equalling 22nd grand slam at Flushing Meadows next month.

Djokovic defeated Nick Kyrgios in four sets on Sunday to claim his fourth successive Wimbledon title but is currently unable to enter the US due to his vaccination status.

“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 to enter the United States,” said Djokovic after his victory.

“I’ll wait hopefully for some good news from the US because I would really love to go there. That would be the next big tournament.

“If that doesn’t happen, then I have to see what the schedule looks like. I will not burden myself to have to go and play tournaments and get points. I don’t feel I’m in a rush really anywhere to end my career in a year’s time or two years’ time or whatever. I want to keep my body healthy… keep myself mentally sane and motivated to compete with the young guns.

“Everything that has followed Australia, particularly in the tournaments, has been a huge challenge and obstacle for me to overcome emotionally. I just needed time to weather the storm.”

McEnroe criticised Australia’s handling of the Djokovic saga in January and said he hopes Joe Biden will ease restrictions in time for the year’s final grand slam.

“These politicians are getting in the way too much - they did it in Australia,” said McEnroe. “Let the guy come in and play in the US. I mean come on. This is ridiculous. You can agree to be tested. There’s got to be a way around this.”

Djokovic’s coach, Goran Ivanisevic, hailed the Serbian’s “heroic” ability to recover from his experience in Australia and suggested it would have sent other players into retirement.

“It’s very emotional,” said Ivanisevic. “It was a s*** year, a tough year. Being there in Australia…for some people, they don’t recover. They will never play tennis. This was a big shock. It was a shock for me, and I was free. Imagine for him.

“It’s really heroic. He’s a great champion. This is the result. This trophy, this joy on Centre Court. It’s so beautiful. Maybe Biden will change his mind. A lot of crazy things are happening in the world. Every day something is changing.”

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