Not vaccinated against COVID, Djokovic must lose Indian Wells

His status as not vaccinated against Covid-19 still prevents Novak Djokovic from playing tennis in the United States: the world No. 1 had to give up participation in the Indian Wells Masters 1000, not having special permission to enter the territory.

The organizers announced Sunday evening in a short press release that the Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili will replace the Serbian in the men’s draw.

Nol had requested special dispensation from local authorities in recent weeks. He had confirmed: “If you turn it down for me, I will withdraw from Indian Wells of course, before the lot”.

He had to come to terms with it. And if the authorities had not publicly communicated their response to his request, then the reason for the compulsory absence of a partner on record for the number of Grand Slams won (22, like Rafael Nadal) would hardly be a mystery.

In recent days, many voices have been heard pleading his case. Tommy Haas, tournament director of Indian Wells, stated: “It would be a shame in my eyes if he wasn’t allowed to come” to the United States.

The US Tennis Association and the US Open organizers did their best, supporting his approach. But without effect.

Djokovic will therefore not receive any preferential treatment from Washington, which does not allow entry into the country for unvaccinated international travelers. The US Transportation Security Agency (TSA) recently indicated that this measure will not change until at least mid-April.

Also, in addition to the Indian Wells event that ends on March 19, Djokovic must, barring a reversal of the situation, forgo participation in the next Masters 1000 tournament, the Miami Open scheduled for April 22-22. .

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See you this summer

The 35-year-old Serbian is certainly the most famous athlete who refused to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

This caused some major concerns, even beyond the impossibility of taking part in tournaments, as he was kicked out of Australia shortly before Major was released in Melbourne in 2022, at the end of a judicial series.

By attempting to circumvent the vaccination obligation, then in effect in Australia, with an exception deemed unjustified by the Australian authorities, Djokovic was forced to spend a few days in a detention centre, before having to leave the country.

In the following months, he was not allowed to come to the United States to defend his chances at Indian Wells in the spring and the US Open in the fall. So much so that the last time he played a match on American soil was at Flushing Meadows in 2021, and he was defeated in the final by Russian Daniel Medvedev, who deprived him of his Grand Slam titles.

But as a champion, perhaps the greatest tennis has ever produced, the Serb has recovered from these setbacks and setbacks, winning Wimbledon last year and above all making his way back out the front door to the Australian Open in January, winning her 22nd Grand Slam.

His frustration at not being able to win a sixth title this year in Indian Wells must be much greater, as he is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career, claiming another title in Adelaide, before conceding his first defeat of 2023., this week. , in the semi-finals of the Dubai Championships, against Daniil Medvedev.

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So Djokovic will still have to patiently endure his troubles before hitting the balls in the United States. Perhaps this summer for the hard court tour that will culminate in the US Open.

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