TENNIS

CDC blocking tennis star Novak Djokovic from playing in US is ‘BS’

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‘I think it’s BS,’ tennis great John McEnroe says of the CDC’s vaccine mandate that continues to prevent Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic from playing in the US, potentially including the next US Open. McEnroe also insisted that Djokovic “has every right to make the decision” whether or not to get vaccinated, according to a video from Fox Digital via Outkick.

McEnroe made the comments to the press during Friday’s Los Angeles Soccer Club game at Banc of California Stadium, where the tennis star co-hosted live color commentary with the team co-owner and the actor Will Ferrell.

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“Well, first of all I think it’s BS That’s what I think. I think he should be allowed to play. My personal opinion is I’ve been vaccinated, I’ve had a booster shot. It’s up to the individual. … He has every right to make the decision,” McEnroe said.

LR Novak Djokovic and Pete Sampras shake hands at the net after their double exhibition match against Tommy Haas and John McEnroe on day thirteen of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 16, 2019 in Indian Wells, California. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

McEnroe’s comments came after the CDC relaxed some vaccination rules on Thursday, but did not budge on the rule limiting travel to the United States by unvaccinated foreigners. Djokovic chose not to receive the vaccine, which ruled him out of competition in countries that imposed strict mandates, such as Australia, Canada and the United States.

“This guy is one of the greatest athletes in all of sports…he’s careful about everything he puts in his body. … So it’s frustrating. … But those are the rules we have in government right now… I disagree with that,” McEnroe continued.

The Associated Press

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates after beating Australia’s Nick Kyrgios to win the men’s singles final on day fourteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Sunday, July 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Djokovic was forced to withdraw from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati but remains hopeful that something might change and he can play at the US Open. The tennis star said he is “preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, waiting to find out if there is room for me to travel to the United States”.

AFP

Novak Djokovic was greeted by thousands of fans in Belgrade, Serbia after winning Wimbledon on Sunday. (AFP)

McEnroe was candid in his defense of Djokovic and his criticism of CDC vaccination mandates:

“These politicians are getting in the way too much,” McEnroe said, according to the New York Post. “They did it in Australia. Let the guy come in and play in the States, I mean come on. It’s ridiculous.”

“Whatever you think the government should or shouldn’t do is a disappointment for tennis,” he added.

“I would love to go to the United States. But as of now, that’s not possible,” Djokovic said in March, as the CDC stood still on the vaccine requirement for foreign travelers. I mean, it’s really up to the US government to decide whether or not they allow unvaccinated people into the country.

He also posted on Instagram at the time: “As international COVID regulations are always changing, I wanted to wait and see if anything would change. The CDC confirmed today that the rules are not changing, which means I will not be playing in the United States. I know my fans can’t wait to see me play again and I hope to be back playing for them on the tour soon.

Outkick’s Clay Travis, who has also defended Djokovic, said on his podcast on Saturday:

“Novak Djokovic should be allowed to play at the US Open. The United States still has an archaic, stupid, anti-scientific rule that if you come to the United States as a foreign national, you must have been vaccinated against the COVID. It’s if you fly. Now, if you cross the southern border illegally, whether or not you’ve had the COVID vaccine doesn’t matter. So a fun idea is that Novak Djokovic should take his bag backpack, put some tennis racquets in there, fly to Mexico, then drive to the US border and just walk across and say he’s here to play the US Open.”

“He wouldn’t break the law because we let everyone cross the southern border,” Travis concluded.



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