World No. 1 tennis player Novak Djokovic’s vaccination status appears to again be causing him to miss a significant tournament, possibly two. Organizers of the ATP Indian Wells Masters event, which begins this week in California, confirmed his withdrawal late Sunday.
Djokovic, who is unable to enter the U.S. because he is not vaccinated against Covid, had petitioned authorities for special dispensation, but was evidently unsuccessful in his bid. He will be replaced in the field by Nikoloz Basilashvili.
The U.S. does not allow unvaccinated international travelers to enter the country. The policy is expected to last until at least mid-April.
The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells is followed by the Miami Open later this month. Djokovic was unable to play either of those last year. He would still require a waiver to go to Miami.
On Friday, the USTA and US Open voiced support for Djokovic’s request to be allowed to enter the country.
Also on Friday, Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio wrote to President Joe Biden requesting his approval for a waiver for Djokovic. The letter, in part, said, “Mr. Djokovic is a world-class athlete in peak physical condition who is not at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19. It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.”
Owing to his lack of a vaccination, Djokovic was deported from Australia in 2022 just before that year’s Australian Open. He won Wimbledon last year but then missed the U.S. Open due to the travel restriction. In January this year, he won the Australian Open, earning his 22nd Grand Slam singles title and tying a men’s record set by Rafael Nadal. Over the weekend, Djokovic suffered his first loss of the season, to Daniil Medvedev, in the semifinals of the Dubai Open.
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