Protestors back Novak, urge end of mandate | US Open updates

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. Open tennis tournament (all times local):

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12:20 p.m.

A small group of demonstrators chanting “Novak! Novak!” outside the entrance of the U.S. Open urged an end of the vaccine travel mandate that kept Novak Djokovic from competing in this year’s tournament.

Djokovic, who is from Serbia, was not able to travel to the U.S. because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. He was able to compete during the previous two U.S. Opens held during the pandemic, but the current vaccine requirement began last Nov. 8.

Members of Families are Essential and Children’s Health Defense & Teachers for Choice were among the demonstrators, standing behind signs that read “End The Travel Mandate Now!”

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11:15 a.m.

With Serena Williams on the schedule at night, the U.S. Open has begun with far more buzz than usual for Day 1.

Play has started at the final Grand Slam of the year, with defending champion Daniil Medvedev among the players who will be in early action Monday.

Medvedev, who won his first Grand Slam title last year in Flushing Meadows, plays the lead match in Arthur Ashe Stadium against American Stefan Kozlov at noon.

Past U.S. Open champion Andy Murray is facing No. 24 seed Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina in one of the matches that has begun.

Williams will begin the night session in Ashe for the start of what could be the final tournament of her career. The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion faces Danka Kovinic.

Dominic Thiem, the 2020 champion who missed the tournament last year, also is on the schedule, along with past U.S. Open champions Stan Wawrinka and Bianca Andreescu.

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