World No. 1 men's tennis player Novak Djokovic said Saturday that he is preparing for the U.S. Open despite the unlikelihood of him being allowed to compete because of his COVID-19 vaccination status.
According to Reuters (h/t ESPN), Djokovic posted the following on social media regarding the U.S. Open: "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!"
Djokovic has maintained that he will not receive the COVID-19 vaccination, which will almost certainly keep him out of the U.S. Open since non-American citizens traveling to the United States are required to be fully vaccinated before boarding a flight.
The Associated Press reported last week that Djokovic was included on the entry list for the U.S. Open, but his vaccination status wasn't taken into account when placing him on the list.
Earlier this week, Djokovic confirmed to Adam Zagoria of Forbes that he would not get vaccinated in order to play in the U.S. Open, saying, "It's really up to the U.S. government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country."
Djokovic's vaccination status has been a hot topic throughout the year, as it prevented him from competing in the Australian Open in January.
The 35-year-old Djokovic fell just short of winning the single-season Grand Slam last year, winning the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, before falling in the U.S. Open final to Daniil Medvedev.
This year, Djokovic was knocked out in the French Open quarterfinals, but he bounced back to win Wimbledon for the seventh time in his career.
Overall, Djokovic is a 21-time Grand Slam champion, which is just one behind Rafael Nadal's Open Era record.
As of now, it doesn't look like Djokovic will have the opportunity to tie Nadal's record, but Nadal should have the chance to extend it.
The 2022 U.S. Open is scheduled to commence on Aug. 29 in New York City and will run through Sept. 11.