Novak Djokovic news: Miami Open chief says it was ‘a long shot’ for Serbian to play in Sunshine Double

Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action

Miami Open Tournament Director James Blake admitted that they knew the odds were always stacked against Novak Djokovic competing at the ATP Masters 1000 event, but organisers are now looking forward to hosting a “great event” despite the Serbian’s absence.

Djokovic announced on Wednesday that he would not appear at the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments after the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “confirmed the regulations won’t be changing” and he would not be able to enter the United States without being vaccinated against Covid-19.

It drew a line under yet another confusing couple of days in men’s tennis as the 20-time Grand Slam winner’s name featured in the Indian Wells Masters draw even though he had previously said he would be willing to miss events due to his unwillingness to get inoculated against the coronavirus.

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The Serbian’s withdrawal resulted in Grigor Dimitrov taking his place in the draw while a lucky loser from qualifying will now take the Bulgarian’s spot.

The Miami Open follows the Indian Wells event and Blake said they knew they were up against it to have Djokovic in the line-up.

“We understood from the beginning that Novak’s participation at the Miami Open was determinant on his early entry into the United States, which we knew would be a long shot,” the American said.

“We have an incredibly deep and talented player field and look forward to hosting a great event.”