American tennis player Steve Johnson believes that Novak Djokovic missing the US Open will affect the competitiveness of the Grand Slam tournament. He also termed the Serbian the 'best player in the world right now' and feels no one can question his status as one of the GOATs.
The World No.58 lamented the current guidelines in the US that restrict the 21-time Grand Slam champion from entering the country. While Rafael Nadal, another member of the Big 3, is all set to compete in the final Grand Slam tournament of the season, Johnson wished the Serb would also be there.
Johnson appeared on the Craig Shapiro Tennis Podcast and expressed his thoughts on the matter.
"You know, even though he's, I don't know seven or eight in the world. Whatever is right now. He's the best player, you know," Johnson said. "I think him and Rafa. Like, these guys are the best players and you want the best players to be competing at the Slams at the highest level. You know, whether you like Novak or not, he's one of the GOATs and there's really no debating that."
The former American No. 1 player opined that the Serb's entry ban into the USA due to his unvaccinated status is 'a bit crazy.' He believes that the vaccine mandate for travel has outgrown its effectiveness.
"Yeah, you know, I think it's a bit extremely unfortunate," added Johnson. "You know, I don't see... I think it's a bit crazy to not let him into the states and to play. But again, that's my opinion, you know, I'm not somebody at the top that makes the rules."
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The 32-year-old stated that even though the guidelines might eventually change, they will not change in time for Djokovic to take part in the US Open, which begins this coming Monday.
"I get, I get why the rules are enforced," Johnson admitted. "I get all that, you know, I, I completely do. But now that we're two and a half years into this thing, you know, it seems to be a bit insane, not to let him in and I don't think that we're gonna get any guidelines change before the Open to let him in sadly enough."