Novak Djokovic denied US entry over COVID vaccine policy

Novak Djokovic has been ruled out of next week’s Miami Open after the Serbian was denied an exemption that would have allowed him to enter the United States despite not being vaccinated against COVID-19, tournament director James Blake said.

Being not vaccinated against COVID-19 remains a requirement of international travellers but Djokovic had hoped to be granted special permission to enter the country.

The policy is expected to be lifted when the government ends its COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11.

Tournament organisers said they “exhausted all the options” in an effort to secure him a travel exemption. The 22-time Grand Slam winner has also withdrawn from the Indian Wells Open.

“We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to get an exemption, but that wasn’t able to happen,” Blake told the Tennis Channel on Friday.

“Obviously, we’re one of the premier tournaments in the world, we’d like to have the best players that can play. We did all that we could. We tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands.”

Djokovic, who missed last year’s Australian Open after being deported from that country due to his vaccination status, has said he would skip Grand Slams rather than have a COVID shot.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state’s two US senators were among those calling on the Biden administration to allow world number one Djokovic to enter the US and compete at the tournament he has won six times.

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