Novak Djokovic: Ron DeSantis ‘would drive boat from Bahamas’ to allow US world No 1 to play in Miami Open



CNN

Time may be running out to allow Novak Djokovic to enter the US to play in Indian Wells, but US politicians – particularly Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – are pushing to change the rules and allow the world No. 1 to enter the country on time. Miami is open.

The US still requires international visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and the Serb, who previously said he had not been vaccinated, confirmed that he had applied for special permission to enter the country ahead of the two tournaments.

However, the organizers of Indian Wells announced on Sunday, Djokovic withdrew from the tournament, which began in the main draw on Wednesday.

DeSantis told Djokovic he would be “driving a boat from the Bahamas” to the Miami Open later this month.

“I would drive a boat from the Bahamas for it. I would do it 100 percent,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tampa on Wednesday.

“I think his people are looking at it and I’m not sure they want to come to the country, I understand that. I think it would be a great moment, but nevertheless, you know.”

According to the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for non-immigrant passengers arriving by air from abroad to the US who are not US citizens, but this applies to other forms of travel.

On Tuesday, DeSantis called on US President Joe Biden to intervene and allow Djokovic to compete in the tournament.

“The only thing stopping Novak Djokovic from playing at the Miami Open is President Biden’s erroneous and unscientific COVID-19 vaccination requirements for foreign travelers,” DeSantis said, vowing to permanently ban coronavirus mitigation mandates. tender, announced on Twitter.

“Mr. President – ​​remove your restrictions and let him compete,” he added.

Republican Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida also called The President of the United States gave Djokovic permission to play.

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said, “On the question of the vaccination requirements, I’m going to refer you to the CDC — they’re the ones dealing with that.”

The vaccine requirements, he said, “are still in place and we expect everyone as participants or spectators to follow our country’s rules.”

US Open organizers said Friday that they and the United States Tennis Association were “hopeful” Djokovic’s petition was successful.

“Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a six-time Miami Open champion,” the Miami Open tweeted Friday.

“We hope he will be allowed to enter the country so Floridians will have a chance to see him compete once again.”

CNN has reached out to Djokovic and the US Department of Homeland Security for comment.

“Look, last year I missed Indian Wells, Miami and the US Open,” Djokovic, a 22-time grand slam winner, told reporters in Belgrade last month.

“So it wouldn’t be the first time it happened. I mean, I hope it doesn’t, but it’s all I can do. All I can do is hope at the moment because my position remains the same. “There is not much I can do except to wish for a positive result,” he said.

Djokovic returned to the world No. 1 position in January when he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record 10th Australian Open.

It was his 22nd major title, tied with Rafael Nadal.

The Miami Open main draw will begin on March 22 and the tournament will conclude April 2.

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