Novak Djokovic: world number one tennis player to miss Miami Open due to vaccination status


World top tennis player Novak Djokovic will miss the Miami Open next week after he was denied entry to the United States for not being vaccinated against Covid-19, tournament director James Blake announced Friday.

The United States still requires foreign visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Serb, who previously confirmed he remains unvaccinated, has applied for a special permit to enter the country ahead of the tournament.

“We tried to get Novak Djokovic released, but that didn’t happen,” Blake said in an interview with Tennis Channel.

“Obviously we are one of the top tournaments in the world and we would like to see the best players that can play in it. We did everything we could. We tried to talk to the government, but it’s out of our hands.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said earlier this month he will “drift a boat from the Bahamas” for Djokovic to compete in the Miami Open tennis tournament.

DeSantis has urged US President Joe Biden to waive vaccinations for international travelers so the 22-time Grand Slam champion can compete.

Djokovic, 35, has missed several more tournaments due to his vaccination status. Earlier this month, Djokovic withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California after his release was denied. Last year, he missed Indian Wells, the Miami Open and all of the US Open tournaments.

The main draw of the Miami Open starts on March 22, and the tournament will end on April 2.