Sport: Novak Djokovic given Grand Slam advantage over Rafael Nadal despite US Open ban fears

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  Novak Djokovic's wife responds after tennis magazine calls out Serb amid US Open saga NOVAK DJOKOVIC is still unable to enter America, with the US Open looming.America are yet to drop travel restrictions for non-US citizens attempting to enter the country, meaning that those wanting to travel to the country must be fully vaccinated. Obviously, Djokovic is not - though is holding out hope that the rules are eased before the US Open.

Novak Djokovic has been tipped to win the Grand Slam race over Rafael Nadal © Getty Novak Djokovic has been tipped to win the Grand Slam race over Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic has received backing over Rafael Nadal in the Grand Slam race despite fears he could be banned from the upcoming US Open. The Spaniard currently holds 22 Major titles to the No 6's 21 and can take advantage of Djokovic's likely absence in Flushing Meadows to widen the gap by winning the trophy.

Djokovic is set to be stopped from having the chance to equal Nadal's Grand Slam men's singles record at the upcoming US Open, with unvaccinated foreign nationals still banned from entering the country. If the world No 3 can win a fifth crown in Flushing Meadows he will pull ahead on 23 but one former pro still believes the Serb has the advantage in the Grand Slam race.

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"I think now he practices just like if he was going to the US Open. If there's a last-minute change, he's going to be there, and if not, his life will continue," former world No 7 Barbara Schett told Eurosport. The retired Austrian explained that Djokovic would benefit from being able to play on the tour for longer than Nadal, who is a year older and has suffered with more injuries.

She continued: "I think Novak will still play for many more years, it looks like that. His body is fine, he doesn't suffer too many injuries, and I think he will give absolutely everything to go down in the history books by winning the most Grand Slam titles.

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Rafael Nadal can win a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam at the US Open © Getty Rafael Nadal can win a record-extending 23rd Grand Slam at the US Open

"Clearly he's not far away. He's only got one more to go, and then he equals Rafa Nadal. If you look at Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic now, I would say Novak can still play for another two, three years, or maybe even longer. And Rafa Nadal, I think the clock is definitely ticking there."

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The 1999 US Open quarter-finalist also spoke on the 35-year-old's potential ban from the US Open. If travel restrictions aren't relaxed in the next 10 days before the tournament begins, it will be the second time this season that he is unable to play a Major because of his vaccination status after being deported from Australia in January.

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Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia in January © Getty Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia in January

"It's a rough year for Djokovic," the Austrian - who now also lives in Australia - admitted. "You could see it in this way, and you can see it in the other way as a tennis player. It's horrible because I still think if he would go to the US Open, would be able to play now, he is the favourite for me to win the title."

Schett made another both claim as she hailed Djokovic the "best" player over Nadal, adding: "I have absolutely no doubt about that because to me, he's the best tennis player, the most consistent tennis player out there. But then on the other side, he chose not to be vaccinated, and that's fine, but then he has to live with the consequences as well, that he can't enter certain countries."

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