Novak Djokovic’s Indian Wells and Miami hopes shattered, but set to make US Open return

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic presser
Novak Djokovic press conference

Novak Djokovic won’t feature at the Sunshine Double for the second year in a row after it was confirmed that the United States’ Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place until May.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner was unable to compete at the Indian Wells Open and Miami Open in March last year as well as the North American hard-court swing, which includes the US Open, in August and September due to Covid-19 regulations.

Directives stated that unvaccinated foreign nationals were not allowed to enter either the United States or Canada.

After making his return to Australia this year following his deportation from the country in 2023 over his unvaccinated status, there were high hopes that he would be able to compete in the US swing in March.

“You know my position, so it is what it is. I’m hoping (to play), but if I can’t go, I can’t go,” he said in early January.

Indian Wells Open Tournament Director Tommy Haas also stated organisers were doing everything they can to help Djokovic to compete at the event.

“It would be nice to see if we could maybe lift those a little earlier and have him come to play Indian Wells and Miami. I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance. Hopefully we can have him there,” he said.

“I mean, it would be a disgrace in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or not allowed to come.”

However, United States President Joe Biden confirmed on Monday that the current Covid-19 emergency declarations have been extended and will only be lifted on May 11.

Although the lifting of the regulations won’t come in time for the Sunshine Double, it will see him make a return to the United States later in the year.

Last year he missed the Cincinnati Masters and the US Open due to the travel regulations, but he is set to compete at Flushing Meadows this year.

Djokovic made the most of his return to Australia as he won the Adelaide International 1 and followed it up by winning a 10th Australian Open title to move to 22 Grand Slams and tie Rafael Nadal in the race for most majors won by a male player.

His three-set win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final at Melbourne Park also saw him return to the top of the ATP Rankings for a seventh stint as world No 1.

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