Almost 12,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the United States Tennis Association (USTA) to work with the government to allow Novak Djokovic participate in the U.S. Open, despite his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
Djokovic will not be able to play in the year's final Grand Slam due to current rules under which travelers seeking to enter the United States have to be fully vaccinated and provide a proof before boarding flights.
The 21-time major champion won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon titles in 2021, but was unable to defend his Melbourne Park crown this year after being deported from Australia over his vaccination status in January.
"There is absolutely no reason at this stage of the pandemic to not allow Djokovic to play at the U.S. Open 2022," said the change.org petition, which was launched on June 21.
"(The) US Government and USTA must work together to allow him to play ... MAKE IT HAPPEN, USTA!"
The Serb, who retained his Wimbledon crown with a win over Australia's Nick Kyrgios earlier this month, in February said he was prepared to miss Grand Slam tournaments rather than take the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I'd like to play the U.S. Open but if it doesn't happen it's not the end of the world, nor the first Grand Slam I have to withdraw from," Djokovic said after winning the Wimbledon.
The main draw at the U.S. Open begins on Aug. 29.
Meanwhile, Djokovic was named in the field as the upcoming Cincinnati Open confirmed a star-studded cast on Tuesday.
Serena Williams will also play in the event as she builds toward a possible U.S. Open appearance, the organizers said.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion, who last week was named in the field for next month's Canadian Open, entered the tournament using her protected ranking.
The former world No. 1 – who played her first singles match in a year during a first-round defeat at Wimbledon last month – is stepping up her comeback ahead of the U.S. Open next month.
Joining her in the field for the Aug. 13-21 tournament in Cincinnati will be world number one Iga Swiatek and former champions including Victoria Azarenka, Madison Keys, Garbine Muguruza and Karolina Pliskova.
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina, four-time major champion Naomi Osaka and reigning U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu are also in the line-up.
Other than newly minted Wimbledon champion Djokovic, the men's draw includes Rafa Nadal, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Marin Cilicss.