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


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Tennis champion Novak Djokovic is ready to overlook his second U.S. tennis match this yr, after he was denied entry into the nation for being unvaccinated towards 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 gained 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 greatest to get an exception to the U.S. coverage, which restricts unvaccinated worldwide vacationers from getting into the U.S. 

“Clearly, we’re one of many premier tournaments on this planet, we might prefer to have the very best gamers that may play,” Blake instructed the Tennis Channel. “We did all that we may. We tried to speak to the federal government, however that is out of our arms.”

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 threat to the US, zero threat to the state of Florida and nil threat to Miami,” the governor mentioned on the time.

Novak Djokovic in action against opponent in Dubai tournament
Novak Djokovic in motion towards Daniil Medvedev within the Males’s Singles Semi Remaining match throughout day 13 of the Dubai Responsibility Free Tennis at Dubai Responsibility Free Tennis Stadium on March 03, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Amin Mohammad Jamali / Getty Photos

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

“Insurance policies regarding entry to the US are decided by the White Home. We’re very hopeful that the coverage stopping Novak Djokovic from getting into the US might be rescinded, or lapse, within the close to future,” Chris Widmaier mentioned. “No COVID-19 restrictions are in place on the U.S. Open for any participant, fan or different attendee. Novak, certainly one of our sport’s nice champions, can be welcome to compete on the 2023 U.S. Open.”

Djokovic is at the moment tied with Rafael Nadal for probably the most profession Grand Slam titles of all time, with 22. In February, he broke the document for probably the most time spent by an expert tennis participant within the No. 1 spot of the ATP rankings after successful 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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