Novak Djokovic withdraws from BNP Paribas Open due to visa issues



CNN

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic pulled out of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells this week, suggesting his visa application to enter the United States had failed.

Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated against Covid-19, said last month he hoped for a “positive outcome” from receiving special permission to play tournaments in the US, where international visitors must be vaccinated to enter.

Georgian player Nikoloz Basilashvili replaced Djokovic in the draw.

Speaking to reporters after his loss to Daniil Medvedev in Dubai on Friday, the Australian Open champion said he was “still waiting to hear from America”.

He added: “If America doesn’t exist, I play clay. Monte Carlo is probably the next tournament. If so, I’ll take some time off and get ready.”

CNN reached out to Djokovic’s representatives for comment on his departure from Indian Wells, but did not receive a response.

The tournament starts on Monday and ends on March 19.

Last week the US Open a tweet Djokovic is one of the “greatest champions our sport has ever seen”, and grand slam organizers said they were “hopeful” his petition to enter the country would be successful.

Djokovic ended the year by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the Australian Open and equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 men’s all-time Grand Slam titles.

He could surpass Nadal’s record at the French Open later this year, although the Spaniard will look to defend his title as he continues to recover from injury.

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