Novak Djokovic pulled out of Indian Wells as the Senators demanded a waiver


The organizers of the upcoming ATP tournament in Indian Wells (California) announced on Sunday evening that Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the competition.

The world’s No. 1, a native of Serbia who did not receive the coronavirus vaccine, could not enter the United States. Djokovic said last month he hoped US authorities would grant him a concession so he could play in Indian Wells and then Miami in March, but Sunday’s situation was another indication that his efforts to do so have not been successful.

On Friday, Sen. Rick Scott (R) of Florida said on Twitter that the Department of Homeland Security had denied Djokovic’s vaccine waiver request. Scott shared a letter he and Sen. Marco Rubio (R.-Fla.) sent to President Biden that day in which they urged Biden to “immediately grant” the waiver to Djokovic.

Noting that Biden said in September that the “pandemic is over,” the senators wrote that Djokovic is “a world-class athlete in the highest physical condition, not at high risk of severe complications from COVID-19.”

“Not to grant him a waiver to travel to the United States to attend a professional event is illogical and inconsistent with your administration’s opinion,” the senators said in their letter. “The fact that there is no risk to public health and the clear benefit of his participation in an event that is a key driver for our local economies should drive your decision and hopefully lead by example for others in his position. to fully repeal this mandate for other foreign visitors who wish to visit our great country legally.”

While Djokovic’s unvaccinated status prevented him from playing at last year’s U.S. Open, he “shouldn’t be barred from playing at the Miami Open because of constitutional vaccine mandates,” Rubio said. tweeted friday

Biden said in January that he would end the national coronavirus emergency declaration on May 11, allowing unvaccinated foreigners to enter the country. Until then, the men’s tennis tour will spend several weeks in Europe with clay court tournaments leading up to the French Open.

Djokovic, 35, suffered his first loss of the season in the Dubai Open semifinals against Daniil Medvedev, dropping the Serb’s record to 15-1 in 2023.

Earlier this year, Djokovic won his 22nd Grand Slam singles title at the Australian Open, breaking the men’s record set by Rafael Nadal. Last month, Djokovic set a men’s and women’s record for the 378th week of his career, entering the world No. 1 ranking.

Djokovic’s 93 career ATP titles include five at Indian Wells, the last coming in 2016. When he was pulled from the tournament, tournament officials said 31-year-old Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, ranked 118th in the world, had moved into the field.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *