Djokovic withdraws from the tournament in the United States
Tennis player Novak Djokovic officially announced his withdrawal from the Indian Wells tournament, organizers said late Sunday, signaling that the world’s top tennis player’s application to enter the United States without a COVID-19 vaccination may have been denied. . The United States currently prohibits unvaccinated foreign nationals from entering the country.
The Serbian player, who has been among the most prominent athletes refusing to be vaccinated against Covid, applied for a visa last month, asking to be granted a special permit to take part in the tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.
“The world number 1, Novak Djokovic, has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open 2023 tournament. With his withdrawal, the place in the tournament is taken by Nikoloz Basilashvili”, the organizers announced on Sunday through a statement.
The United States currently bans unvaccinated foreigners from entering the country, a policy that is expected to be lifted when the state of emergency for COVID-19 ends on May 11.
Mr. Djokovic has not participated since 2019 in the games in Indian Wells and Miami, which are known as the two biggest tournaments on the ATP Masters calendar.
There was no immediate comment from representatives of his team.
Last Friday, Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio sent a letter to President Joe Biden, requesting that the tennis player be granted a special permit.
Among the people hoping the 22-time tennis champion would be allowed to enter the United States was Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas.
If he had taken part, he would have been the overwhelming favorite to win his sixth Indian Wells tour title, which starts on Wednesday in the Southern California desert.
Mr. Djokovic could not participate in the Australian tournament last year due to non-vaccination, and he was also not allowed to enter the United States last year to participate in the US Open tournament. He has said that he would rather miss participation in popular tournaments than get vaccinated against COVID.
In January, he set a new record after winning the Australian Open, holding the title of winner 22 times, for the most popular tennis tournaments in the world.