Novak Djokovic saga takes fresh twist as bigwig politician tells Joe Biden ‘let him play’ in Miami

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic water break

Novak Djokovic could still feature at this year’s Miami Open if Florida Senator Ron DeSantis gets his way.

The world No 1 has been barred from entering the United States due to his unvaccinated status and he will officially only be allowed to return to America from May 11 when the Covid-19 restrictions fall away.

Those regulations effectively ruled Djokovic out of the Sunshine Double – Indian Wells Open and Miami Open – as the two ATP Masters 1000 events take place in March.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner, though, applied for a special exemption to enter the country, but on Monday he withdrew from the Indian Wells tournament as it was reported his application was unsuccessful.

There was no mention of the Miami event with many feeling if his application failed then he would not compete in Florida either, but it appears all is not lost as DeSantis is still trying to get him to compete in Florida.

The politician has sent an email to United States President Joe Biden and accompanied it with the following tweet: “The only thing keeping Novak Djokovic from participating in the Miami Open tennis tournament is President Biden’s misguided and unscientific COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreigner travelers.

“Mr. President – lift your restrictions and let him compete.”

In the letter itself DeSantis stated that banning Djokovic from playing “is unfair, unscientific and unacceptable – let him play”.

Biden is also said that the Serbian’s presence in the United States “poses no meaningful health or safety risks”.

He continued: “I note that since the onset of COVID-19, Mr. Djokovic has visited the United States twice — including once during your presidency — without any apparent health incident.

“It is also not clear to me why, even by the terms of your own proclamation, Mr. Djokovic could not legally enter this country via boat. Please confirm no later than Friday, March 10, 2023 that this method of travel into Florida would be permissible.”

Djokovic, of course, was able to compete at the 2020 and 2021 US Open, but the US regulation barring unvaccinated foreign visitors from entering the country prevented him from playing at both Indian Wells and Miami as well as the US Open last year.

The Miami Open gets underway on March 20 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

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