Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells ahead of draw after losing COVID-19 vaccine waiver

Serbia Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic reportedly lost his entry permit to the United States because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19. (AP/Kamran Jebreili)

Novak Djokivic’s application to be denied entry to the United States has failed.

The world’s best tennis player withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells on Sunday evening, just days before it kicked off in Southern California and hours before the tournament draw was announced.

The reason for the departure of Djokovic was not called.

According to the Associated PressHowever, Djokovic lost his application to enter the United States as a person not vaccinated against COVID-19.

The news came just days after the US Open, and the USTA backed Djokovic’s bid to get special permission to enter the United States β€” something he’s currently not allowed to do because he’s not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic’s story against getting a COVID-19 vaccine goes back to January last year when he was deported from Australia right before the Australian Open. Djokovic missed the US Open last year, as well as several other tournaments, including Indian Wells, in the past 15-plus months.

Australia has since eased COVID-19 vaccination restrictions for international travelers, allowing Djokovic to enter and win the Australian Open earlier this year. However, the United States still does not allow foreign travelers to enter the country without being vaccinated.

Djokovic said last month that he applied for a special waiver to compete at Indian Wells and Miami Open later this month.

β€œAt the moment everything is in process,” Djokovic said last month. β€œI have a great desire to be there. I am very grateful to the tournament in Indian Wells and Miami. [officials] and the community for their support in public and they wish I could play in their tournaments.”

In May, the United States officially ends its COVID-19 state of emergency, allowing Djokovic and other unvaccinated travelers to enter the country. If that happens, Djokovic will be allowed to play at the US Open this fall.

While the 22-time Grand Slam champion could come to the United States later this year, it looks like he won’t be playing in Indian Wells or Miami this spring.


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