ATP Challenger Tour event makes audacious bid to lure Novak Djokovic, but will he be allowed to play?

Novak Djokovic off court

Novak Djokovic’s schedule for the next few weeks are up in the air as he is still awaiting feedback with regards to his request to enter the United States in order to play at the Miami Open and organisers of an ATP Challenger Tour event in Italy has made a last-gasp effort to get him to play in Sanremo.

The world No 1 is absent from this week’s Indian Wells Open as he is not allowed to enter the US due to his unvaccinated status as a foreign traveller.

The same regulations are in place for the Miami Open, but Djokovic has applied for a special exemption to compete in Florida and he is still awaiting a final answer – although he also made the same request for Indian Wells, but withdrew from the tournament last week Monday.

If he does fail in his bid to compete in Miami, then Djokovic – who last played at the Dubai Tennis Championships just over a week ago – has admitted that he will make his return to action at the Monte-Carlo Masters, which starts on April 10.

The Serbian had a similar schedule last year when he was also not allowed to compete in the Sunshine Double in the United States, but he initially struggled to get going as he lost his opener in the Principality.

He admitted that the lack of game time affected him and he will no doubt hope to avoid making the same mistakes this time around.

And that is where the Sanremo Tennis Cup entered the conversation with the tournament running from March 27 to April 2.

The tournament has tried to lure Djokovic to the event by launching the hashtag #NoleComeToSanremo.

“🇮🇹 Novak Djokovic] we have an invitation for you, come to the #SanremoTennisCup! 🎾,” they wrote on Facebook. “We’ll be waiting for you from March 26th for the tournament that saw you winning 18 years ago and for the first time it will be an #ATPChallenger 125 🤩

“We still have your trophy, we are waiting for you to hand it over with the hope of seeing you play again on our fields 🙃

“#NoleComeToSanremo!? The Wild Card will be reserved for you, we are confident 😜”

The trophy they are talking about is the one that Djokovic won in 2005, but the tournament organisers’ wishes won’t come true due to ATP Tour rules.

Article 7.07 of the ATP Rulebook state: “Players positioned 1-10 in the ATP Singles Rankings twenty-one days prior to the first Monday of the ATP Challenger Tour tournament are prohibited from entering, accepting a wild card and/or competing in an ATP Challenger Tour tournament.”

In case you forgot, Djokovic currently sits top of the ATP Rankings.

READ MORE: Novak Djokovic’s 2023 tennis schedule: Where and when will he compete next after US setback?