The world’s top men’s tennis player, Novak Djokovic, will miss next week’s Miami Open after being refused entry to the United States because he had not been vaccinated against Covid-19, tournament director James Blake said on Friday.
The United States still requires international visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Serb, who previously confirmed he was unvaccinated, had requested special permission to enter the country ahead of the tournament.
“We tried to give Novak Djokovic a chance to take advantage, but it was not possible,” Blake said in an interview with the Tennis Channel.
“Obviously, we’re one of the best tournaments in the world, we want to have the best players we can play. We did everything we could. We tried to talk to the government, but we can’t do it.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said earlier this month that Djokovic would “drive a boat from the Bahamas” to attend the Miami Open.
DeSantis called on US President Joe Biden to waive the vaccine requirement for international travelers so the 22-time grand slam champion could compete.
Djokovic, 35, has missed several more tournaments due to his vaccination status. Earlier this month, Djokovic withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, after being denied an exemption. Last year, he missed Indian Wells, the Miami Open and all the tournaments included in the US Open swing.
The Miami Open main draw begins on March 22 and the tournament ends on April 2.