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Tags: claudia tenney | novak djokovic | us open | covid

Rep. Tenney to Newsmax: Vaccine 'Hypocrisy' Keeping Djokovic From US Open

Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y. (Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 31 August 2022 09:40 AM EDT

"Hypocrisy," not science, is keeping worldwide tennis star Novak Djokovic, a 21-time Grand Slam singles champion, from competing in the U.S. Open over his refusal to be vaccinated for COVID-19, Rep. Claudia Tenney said on Newsmax on Wednesday. 

"I wrote a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, asking him to give a national interest exemption to Djokovic and any other international player, especially of the caliber of Novak Djokovic, so they can play and make this credible," the New York Republican said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "This whole tournament is not credible when you don't allow the best player in the world, or among the best, to not play in the premier event."

The Serbian tennis star is not allowed to travel to the United States because of his vaccine status. He was also banned from the Australian Open in January when he was deported from the country the night before the tournament was to open. 

Djokovic, as the world's sixth-ranked player, trails Spain's Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam championship race, holding 21 singles titles to Nadal's 22. It was announced Monday that he will play in Israel next month at the Tel Aviv Open. 

Tenney, meanwhile, said she's an avid tennis fan, but she's not watching the U.S. Open, held in New York City, because she's protesting Djokovic's ban. 

"Look, you can come across the southern border and not be vaccinated," she said. "You can be a visitor at the U.S. Open and not be vaccinated. Novak Djokovic has had COVID. He has the immunities. He is a premier, elite athlete, literally in the best shape that you could possibly be in. He treats his body as a temple, and I give him a lot of credit for having the courage to stand up on principle."

It's a "tragedy" that Djokovic can't play, Tenney added, also noting there are "superior amazing players" still in the tournament, such as Nadal. "I'm trying not to watch because I'm protesting."

Tenney said she thinks it's important that people have a choice on vaccination.

"Look at all these people across the country, not just elite tennis players, but all kinds of workers across all sectors," said Tenney, adding that nurses, frontline workers, people in the military, and more "lost their jobs, their livelihood, and their ability to pay and to support themselves because of this vaccine mandate."

People who have lost their jobs should have them restored and be given their back pay, she continued. 

"We have got to start moving on from this pandemic," said Tenney. "Let's embrace the people who are truly vulnerable."

Djokovic, meanwhile, played in the 2020 U.S. Open during the height of COVID-19 at a time when there were no vaccines, but now, Tenney said, "he's had COVID twice. There are studies that show that natural immunity is better than the vaccine. It prevents you from getting sick and it prevents the symptoms from being worse and potentially deadly."

There are also American players in the U.S. Open who have not been vaccinated, but Djokovic can't play because he's from another country, and "they just will not let this guy cross the line because they're just going to double down on stupidity and double down on their anti-science positions," Tenney said.

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"Hypocrisy," not science, is keeping worldwide tennis star Novak Djokovic, a 21-time Grand Slam singles champion, from competing in the U.S. Open over his refusal to be vaccinated for COVID-19, Rep. Claudia Tenney said on Newsmax on Wednesday. 
claudia tenney, novak djokovic, us open, covid
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2022-40-31
Wednesday, 31 August 2022 09:40 AM
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