Serbia’s Novak Djokovic may not be looking for a doubles partner on the tennis court, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is on his team nonetheless.
DeSantis, a frequent and vocal opponent of COVID-19 precautions he sees as going too far, expanded his critique to the realm of professional tennis Tuesday at two separate press conferences, lamenting Djokovic’s exclusion from the prestigious U.S. Open tourney because he is unvaccinated and not allowed to travel to the U.S.
“You think about some of these mandates that have been done in the last couple of years. You still see them now,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Fort Pierce. “They’re not letting Djokovic come to the United States to play in the U.S. Open because of the shot!”
“He’s already had COVID,” DeSantis litigated. “And the shot is not, it’s not stopping you from getting this. It’s so bizarre. It’s so stupid that they’re doing this, but you had a lot of these bizarre policies going on in these other states.”
“You’re letting people come across the border without shots, but you won’t let him come in and compete,” DeSantis complained in Live Oak.
Djokovic was upbeat about the non-participation when he announced it on Twitter last week.
“Sadly, I will not be able to travel to NY this time for US Open. Thank you #NoleFam for your messages of love and support. Good luck to my fellow players! I’ll keep in good shape and positive spirit and wait for an opportunity to compete again. See you soon tennis world!”
The 35-year-old Djokovic is one of the most decorated tennis players in the world, with three U.S. Open titles amid his 21 major championships. The sticking point is international travel, with unvaccinated players not allowed to enter the U.S. or Canada.
“Novak is a great champion and it is very unfortunate that he will be unable to compete at the 2022 U.S. Open, as he is unable to enter the country due to the federal government’s vaccination policy for non-U.S. citizens,” said Stacey Allaster, the U.S. Open tournament director, to the Associated Press. “We look forward to welcoming Novak back at the 2023 U.S. Open.”
The Associated Press contributed to this post.