Novak Djokovic included in Indian Wells draw as he waits for American visa

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is back at the centre of another vaccine storm, after it emerged he is still hoping to enter America to play in this week’s Indian Wells Masters.

Tennis365 reported on Tuesday that Djokovic and his team were looking at ways to enter America, despite his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

All visitors to American need to provide proof that they are fully vaccinated before they are given a visa to enter, but Djokovic made it clear that he would not take a vaccine against the virus.

That decision led to him being embroiled in a huge international storm that ended with his deportation from Australia in January, as he made a bitched attempt to defend his Australian Open title.

Djokovic stated last month that he did not expect to play in the ATP events at Indian Wells and Miami due to his decision to refuse to be vaccinated, but it has emerged in recent days that he has asked to be allowed to enter the country.

While it seems unlikely he will be granted a visa to enter America unless President Joe Biden’s administration change their Covid-19 restrictions imminently, Indian Wells chiefs were forced to include world No 2 Djokovic in their main draw for the event after confirming he has refused to remove himself from the event.

They released this tweet shortly before the main draw took place on Tuesday:

The announcement that Djokovic is trying to get an exemption to enter a fresh country stunned tennis fans, after the Serbian appeared to confirm would not be playing at Indian Wells or Miami after his comments last month.

“As of today, not. I can’t go, can’t enter the United States,” he said in an interview last month. “As of today, I’m not able to play, but let’s see what happens. I mean, maybe things change in the next few weeks.”

US rules state that visitors need to be vaccinated to be granted entry into the country and while there are suggestions that they may be relaxed in the coming weeks, Djokovic’s hopes of getting into America this week seem forlorn.

In addition, Indian Wells chiefs have confirmed that everyone on site at their event will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

“In order to enter the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the 2022 BNP Paribas Open will require all attendees to show valid proof of full vaccination against COVID-19,” reads a statement on the tournament’s official website.

“To keep all patrons on-site as safe as possible, no exceptions to the vaccination policy will be allowed. All tournament volunteers, staff, sponsors, media, and vendors will be fully vaccinated in accordance with this policy.”

Djokovic could meet David Goffin or Jordan Thompson if he is allowed to enter America, with his first match due to take place on Saturday or Sunday.