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10 Mar, 2022 07:45

Unvaccinated Djokovic issues statement on US events

Novak Djokovic confirmed he will be unable to appear at Indian Wells and the Miami Open
Unvaccinated Djokovic issues statement on US events

Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the ATP Masters events at Indian Wells and Miami this month, confirming that his vaccine status means he is unable to travel to the US.

Speculation had surrounded the Serbian star’s participation at Indian Wells after he was included in the entry list this week, but the 34-year-old has stated officially that he would not be competing.

“While I was automatically listed in the BNP Paribas Open [Indian Wells] and Miami Open draw I knew it would be unlikely I’d be able to travel,” wrote the world number two.

“The CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention] has confirmed that regulations won’t be changing so I won’t be able to play in the US. Good luck to those playing in these great tournaments.”

US rules prohibit unvaccinated non-citizens from traveling by air to the country unless in exceptional circumstances.

In an interview last month, Djokovic doubled down on his choice not to be vaccinated against Covid-19, explaining that he would be willing to miss tournaments and potential titles as a result.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner was prevented from defending his Australian Open title back in January when he was deported from the country in a row involving his vaccine status.

Djokovic did return to action at the Dubai Tennis Championships in February, where he suffered a shock quarterfinal defeat to Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic.

That loss saw Djokovic toppled as world number one by Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, who is top seed at Indian Wells and is due to start his campaign in California on Saturday.

Djokovic has won the Indian Wells title five times – a joint record alongside Roger Federer – and holds the outright record for most consecutive matches won at the tournament with 19.

Djokovic could return in mid-April at the Monte Carlo Masters, with relaxations to French rules on Covid passports meaning he is likely to be able to line up to defend his title at the second Grand Slam of the season at Roland-Garros in May.