Djokovic set to miss US events over vaccine rules
Novak Djokovic is likely to miss the prestigious ATP tour events at Indian Wells and Miami after the US travel authorities extended requirements for non-citizens to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 to be allowed into the country.
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that its policy would remain in place until at least April 10, meaning Djokovic seems set to be ruled out of the so-called ‘Sunshine Swing’ leg of the ATP tour in March.
Outside of the four Grand Slams, the tournaments on the hard courts of Indian Wells and Miami are considered among the most important on the calendar. Djokovic was forced to miss both events last year due to his decision not to be vaccinated against coronavirus.
The Serbian star has stated he is willing to forgo opportunities to win titles rather than change his stance on the vaccine. Djokovic has insisted he is not anti-vaccination, but argues there must be freedom of choice over what people put into their bodies.
Djokovic is currently competing at the Adelaide International in Australia – a country he was infamously deported from 12 months ago in a row over his vaccine status. The Australian government has since relaxed its entry requirements for foreign travelers, and it was confirmed in November that Djokovic would have his three-year visa ban overturned. That has allowed the 35-year-old to compete in Adelaide and at the Australian Open in Melbourne later this month.
There are no vaccine requirements in place for the Grand Slams at the French Open or Wimbledon, although the extension of the American travel policy could place Djokovic’s participation in doubt for the US Open in August. That was among the tournaments that the 21-time Grand Slam winner was also forced to miss last season.
Indian Wells, which gets underway in California on March 6, carries the significant tally of 1,000 ATP rankings points – the same as at the Miami Open, which begins on March 20.