MONTREAL (AP) — Novak Djokovic withdrew from the upcoming hard-court tournament in Montreal on Thursday because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and is therefore not allowed to enter Canada.
By the same reason, as things stand now, he also will not be able to compete in the U.S. Open later this month.
Djokovic, a 35-year-old from Serbia, has said he won’t get the shots, even if that means he can’t go to certain tournaments. He missed the Australian Open in January after being deported from that country and needed to sit out two events in the United States earlier this year.
He did play in the French Open, where he lost in the quarterfinals to Rafael Nadal, and at Wimbledon, which Djokovic won last month for his 21st Grand Slam title — one behind the men’s record held by Nadal.
Unvaccinated foreign citizens can’t go to Canada or the U.S, so Djokovic pulled out of Montreal a day before the draw is scheduled to take place for the tournament and is expected to have to sit out the U.S. Open, which starts in New York on Aug. 29.
Last weekend, Djokovic posted on social media that he was holding out hope of getting the chance to play in the U.S. Open, writing: “I am preparing as if I will be allowed to compete, while I await to hear if there is any room for me to travel to US. Fingers crossed!”
After beating Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon final on July 10, Djokovic said he “would love” to participate in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year at Flushing Meadows, but also acknowledged, “I’m not planning to get vaccinated.”
Djokovic is a three-time champion at the U.S. Open. His loss to Daniil Medvedev in last year’s final there prevented Djokovic from becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Oscar Otte also withdrew from Montreal on Thursday; Kyrgios and Benjamin Bonzi moved into the bracket.
Four wild-card berths went to three-time major champion Andy Murray, David Goffin, Vasek Pospisil and Alexis Galarneau.
Nadal, who pulled out of Wimbledon before the semifinals because of a torn abdominal muscle, is still scheduled to play in Montreal.