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

Tennis champion Novak Djokovic will miss his second US tennis tournament this year after being banned from entering the country for not being vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic, 35, will miss Miami Open, which begins March 22, says tournament director James Blake confirmed to the Tennis Channel on Friday. Djokovic has won the Miami Open six times – three times in a row. The last win was in 2016.

Blake said tournament organizers have been talking to federal officials and doing their best to get an exception to the US policy, which bans unvaccinated international travelers from entering the US

“Obviously we are one of the most important tournaments in the world, we like to have the best players who can play,” Blake told the Tennis Channel. “We have done everything we can. We have tried to talk to the government, but that is not in our hands.”

Some, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, are calling on President Biden to scrap the vaccination requirement and allow the Serbian athlete to compete in US tournaments again.

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In a press conference earlier this month, DeSantis joked that he would sail a boat from the Bahamas to Miami to take Djokovic to the tournament.

“He poses no risk to the United States, no risk to the state of Florida, and no risk to Miami,” the governor said at the time.

Novak Djokovic in action against opponent in Dubai tournament
Novak Djokovic in action against Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles semifinal during day thirteen of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 3, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images

A spokesman for the US Tennis Association told the Associated Press on Saturday that they are “very hopeful” that Djokovic will be able to play at the US Open, which begins on August 28.

“Policies regarding entry into the United States are set by the White House. We are hopeful that the policies preventing Novak Djokovic from entering the United States will be repealed or expired in the near future,” Chris said. Widmaier. “There are no COVID-19 restrictions in place at the US Open for any player, fan or other participant. Novak, one of the great champions of our sport, would be welcome to compete at the 2023 US Open .”

Djokovic is currently tied with Rafael Nadal for most all-time Grand Slam singles titles, with 22. In February, he broke the record for the most time spent by a professional tennis player in the No. 1 spot of the ATP rankings after winning the men’s singles title at the Australian Open January – a tournament for which he was rejected in 2022 because he was not vaccinated.



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