Novak Djokovic misses Miami Open due to vaccine

Reuters2 minute chapter

Novak Djokovic will miss next week’s Miami Open after being denied an exemption that would have allowed him to enter the United States despite not having been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, tournament director James Blake said on Friday.

“We tried to get Novak Djokovic out, but it couldn’t happen,” Blake told the Tennis Channel. “Obviously we are one of the most important tournaments in the world. We would like to have the best players who can play. We did everything we could. We tried to talk to the government, but it’s not in our hands.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were among those urging the Biden administration to allow Djokovic to enter the United States to compete in the tournament, which he has won six times.

Djokovic, 35, is also out of the ongoing Masters tournament in Indian Wells, California, unable to secure an exemption.

The United States currently bans entry to unvaccinated foreigners, a policy expected to be reversed when the government ends its COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 11.

Djokovic, who missed last year’s Australian Open when he was deported because of his vaccination status, has said he would skip the Grand Slam tournament rather than get the COVID-19 vaccine.

He won his record 22nd Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January. He has not played in Indian Wells or the Miami Open since 2019.

Djokovic’s representative said the player would not comment further on his absence from the Miami tournament and that he planned to return to the tour at the Monte Carlo Masters clay-court event, which starts on April 9.

After this, Djokovic will continue his preparation for May’s French Open by playing in the Srpska Open in Banja Luka, Bosnia.

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