New Delhi, March 18 (IANS): World number one men's tennis player Novak Djokovic has been denied entry to the United States over his vaccination status and he will miss next week's ATP Masters 1000 Miami Open in Florida. The Miami Open main draw starts on March 22 and the tournament ends on April 2. Indian Wells Masters 2023: Elena Rybakina Enters the Final After Defeating Iga Swiatek; Will Face Aryna Sabalenka.
"We did all that we could. We tried to talk to the government, but that's out of our hands. We tried, and he wasn't able to play," Miami Open tournament director James Blake told Tennis Channel.
"Same result that he had in Indian Wells, where I know (fellow tournament director) Tommy Haas did as much as he could. We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to get an exemption, but that wasn't able to happen. We'd love to have him, and he's our greatest champion, he's won six times here. Unfortunately, that's way above my pay grade," he added.
Notably, unvaccinated air travellers are still prohibited from entering the States until the middle of May.
The Serbian great asked American authorities last month for special permission to enter the United States despite being unvaccinated against the coronavirus.
His bid to enter the US had even been backed by the US Open and the United States Tennis Association, who had implored the government to make an exception for the tennis great.
"Novak Djokovic is one the greatest champions our sport has ever seen. The USTA and US Open are hopeful that Novak is successful in his petition to enter the country, and that the fans will be able to see him back in action at Indian Wells and Miami," the US Open Twitter account posted earlier this month.
The 22-time Grand Slam, who missed the US Open last, has missed several tournaments because of his vaccination status. Earlier this month, he withdrew from the ongoing Indian Wells Masters after being denied the exemption.
Last year, the Serb was deported from Australia because of his vaccination status and missed the Australian Open. WTA Gives Formal Warning to Anastasia Potapova for Wearing Russian Football Team Spartak Moscow’s Shirt at Indian Wells.
However, he was permitted to travel to Melbourne in January 2023 and clinched a record-extending 10th Australian Open title, tying Rafael Nadal's record of 22 majors.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 19, 2023 12:20 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).