(FILES) In this file photograph taken on September 13, 2021, Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts after defeat against Russia's Daniil Medvedev after their 2021 US Open Tennis tournament men's final match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York. - Novak Djokovic announced on August 25, 2022, shortly before the draw, that he would not be able to take part in the US Open, which starts on August 29, because he cannot travel to the United States because he has not been vaccinated against Covid-19. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

Tennis star Novak Djokovic will not play at the US Open this year because of his refusal to vaccinate. Shortly before the draw for the last Grand Slam tournament of the season this Thursday, the name of the 35-year-old Serb was suddenly missing from the list of players published on the tournament homepage. A little later, Djokovic confirmed via Twitter that he would not play in the tournament.

“Unfortunately, I am not able to travel to New York for this US Open,” wrote the Serb. He thanks his followers for messages of love and support. “Good luck my fellow players! I’ll stay in good shape and good spirits and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon, tennis world!” announced Djokovic.

The event in Flushing Meadows will therefore take place from Monday without the three-time winner and last year’s finalist. Djokovic’s absence comes as no surprise as the United States requires foreign citizens to provide proof of vaccination and the 21-time Grand Slam tournament winner has categorically refused vaccination against the coronavirus. “I’m not vaccinated and I don’t plan to get vaccinated,” Djokovic emphasized after his Wimbledon triumph in July.

Because of this attitude, Djokovic is already missing the second Grand Slam tournament this year after he had to leave the country before the first serve at the Australian Open in January after a prank about his entry, which also occupied the courts.

Until recently, Djokovic had hoped for an exception at the US Open. He prepares himself “as if I had permission to play,” Djokovic, who has not competed in a tournament since Wimbledon, tweeted at the end of July.