Novak Djokovic misses the Miami Open as the US refuses entry over a Covid vaccine


Tennis star Novak Djokovic will miss the Miami Open after failing to get an exemption under coronavirus vaccine rules to enter the United States.

The world No. 1, who is not vaccinated against the coronavirus, had hoped US authorities would give him an exemption so he could play at Indian Wells and the Miami Open. The Transportation Security Administration requires proof of vaccinations from air travelers under a rule that is in effect through at least April 10.

But Miami Open tournament director James Blake said that while they tried to secure the 35-year-old Serbian star’s place, “it just couldn’t happen”.

“We host one of the leading tournaments in the world. We’d like to have the best players that can play… And we’ve done everything we can, tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands,” Blake told Tennis Channel on Friday.

“We would love to have him and he is our greatest champion. He’s won six times here… But unfortunately that’s well above my pay grade,” he added.

Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells after requesting vaccination exemption

Tournament officials in Indian Wells, California also said Djokovic retired earlier this month.

Politicians, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), recently urged President Biden to strip the top player so he can compete in the Miami Open, scheduled for March 19-April 2 in Miami Gardens, Florida . Florida’s two Republican senators also asked Biden to accept the no-vaccination motion.

Still unvaccinated, Novak Djokovic is applying for special entry into the United States

Officials at the US Open, the country’s Grand Slam event, had expressed their support for Djokovic. tweet that they “were hopeful that Novak would be successful with his application to enter the country.”

The athlete’s unvaccinated status amid coronavirus restrictions kept him from competing in last year’s US Open. He was deported from Australia in January last year, in a saga that divided his fans and critics, as health officials around the world called for vaccinations to combat the spread of the deadly virus. There was no mandatory vaccination requirement to enter the UK and Djokovic successfully defended his men’s singles title at Wimbledon last July.

In interviews over the past year, Djokovic said he is not part of the anti-vaccination movement but supports freedom of choice.

Health officials say people who are vaccinated and boosted not only protect themselves from serious diseases but also help protect those more vulnerable, including those who are immune-compromised.

Des Bieler and Cindy Boren contributed to this report. Novak Djokovic misses the Miami Open as the US refuses entry over a Covid vaccine

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