Unvaccinated top-ranked tennis star out of another U.S. tournament due to travel restrictions
Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked men’s tennis player, will miss another U.S. tournament next week — this time the Miami Open — after officials denied him a vaccination exemption.
Over a year after the unvaccinated tennis star was forced to miss the 2022 Australian Open — and months after he withdrew from the U.S. Open due due to travel restrictions requiring international visitors to be vaccinated — Djokovic will once again miss a high-profile tournament due to his anti-vax stance.
“We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to get an exemption, but that wasn’t able to happen,” tournament director James Blake said in an interview with the Tennis Channel.
“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’s exemption was denied despite lobbying on his behalf by Florida senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and Governor Ron DeSantis, who previously stated he would “run a boat from the Bahamas” for Djokovic in order for him to attend the Miami Open, CNN reported.
Djokovic also skipped this month’s Indian Wells Masters event in California after his request for exemption was denied prior to that prestigious tournament as well.
However, the Miami Open might be the last U.S. tournament Djokovic misses due to his vaccination status, as the policy barring non-vaccinated non-citizens is expected to be peeled back when the government lifts its Covid-19 emergency restrictions on May 11, which would allow Djokovic to attend the U.S. Open in August.