Monday, March 20, 2023

Novak Djokovic to miss Miami Open due to COVID vaccination status, tournament says

Tennis champion Novak Djokovic is about to overlook his second U.S. tennis match this 12 months, after he was denied entry into the nation for being unvaccinated in opposition to COVID-19.

The 35-year-old Djokovic will miss the Miami Open, which begins March 22, match director James Blake confirmed to the Tennis Channel on Friday. Djokovic has won the Miami Open six occasions — three of these consecutively. The newest win got here in 2016. 

Blake mentioned match organizers spoke with federal officers and tried their finest to get an exception to the U.S. coverage, which restricts unvaccinated worldwide vacationers from getting into the U.S. 

“Obviously, we’re one of the premier tournaments in the world, we’d like to have the best players that can play,” Blake instructed the Tennis Channel. “We did all that we could. We tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands.”

Some, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, are calling on President Biden to take away the vaccination requirement and permit the Serbian athlete to compete in U.S. tournaments once more. 

In a press convention earlier this month, DeSantis joked that he would run a ship from the Bahamas to Miami to carry Djokovic to the match.

“He poses zero risk to the United States, zero risk to the state of Florida and zero risk to Miami,” the governor mentioned on the time.

Novak Djokovic in action against opponent in Dubai tournament
Novak Djokovic in motion in opposition to Daniil Medvedev within the Men’s Singles Semi Final match throughout day 13 of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 03, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Amin Mohammad Jamali / Getty Images

A spokesman from the U.S. Tennis Association instructed the Associated Press Saturday that they’re “very hopeful” Djokovic will be capable to play within the U.S. Open, which begins on Aug. 28.

“Policies concerning access to the United States are determined by the White House. We are very hopeful that the policy preventing Novak Djokovic from entering the United States will be rescinded, or lapse, in the near future,” Chris Widmaier mentioned. “No COVID-19 restrictions are in place at the U.S. Open for any player, fan or other attendee. Novak, one of our sport’s great champions, would be welcome to compete at the 2023 U.S. Open.”

Djokovic is presently tied with Rafael Nadal for essentially the most profession Grand Slam titles of all time, with 22. In February, he broke the document for essentially the most time spent by an expert tennis participant within the No. 1 spot of the ATP rankings after profitable the boys’s singles title on the Australian Open in January — a match he was turned away from in 2022 for being unvaccinated.

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