Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells Open, expected to miss Miami Open as well

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic in action

Novak Djokovic is officially out of the Indian Wells Open with tournament organisers confirming that he has withdrawn, a move that indicates that his application for a special exemption to enter the United States has in all likelihood failed.

With the United States lawmakers opting to keep the current Covid-19 regulations in place until May 11, it meant Djokovic is unable to travel to the country as unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to enter the US.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner, though, remained on the entry list for the both Indian Wells Open and Miami Open as he applied to the US government for a special waiver to enter the country in order to play at the Sunshine Double.

He received the support of tournament organisers with Indian Wells chief Tommy Haas saying it would be a disgrace if he was not allowed to enter the country while the United States Tennis Association and US Open issued a public statement on Friday to back the world No 1, saying they “are hopeful that Novak is successful in his petition to enter the country”.

However, Indian Wells organisers announced on Sunday that Djokovic will not feature at this year’s ATP Masters 1000 event in California.

“World No 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the 2023 BNP Paribas Open. With his withdrawal, Nikoloz Basilashvili moves into the field,” a statement read.

Djokovic and his team are yet to officially comment on his withdrawal while Miami Open organisers are also yet to announce if he has pulled out of the Florida tournament.

On Friday Florida Senator Rick Scott let the cat out of the bag that Djokovic was unsuccessful in his application to receive a special exemption to enter the United States was unsuccessful.

In a tweet he implored United States President Joe Biden to “fix this NOW, grant the waiver & allow him to compete here in the states”, but those calls appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

It is the second year in a row that Djokovic, a six-time champion in California, will miss the Indian Wells Open due to his unvaccinated status and he hasn’t played there since 2019 as the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic is expected to next be in action on the clay in Europe as he is likely to return to action at the Monte-Carlo Masters, which runs from April 10-16.

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