The unvaccinated Novak Djokovic will not play in US tournaments

Novak Djokovic said he cannot compete in the hard court tennis tournaments in Indian Wells, California, or Miami because he is unvaccinated and unable to travel to the United States.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner tweeted on Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control “confirmed that the regulations will not change so I cannot play in the US”

Djokovic, the recently slipped to number 2 in the ATP rankingsHe has only played one tournament so far in 2022 because he has not received vaccinations to protect against COVID-19. He was deported from Australia in January and banned from attempting to defend his title at Melbourne Park.

Rafael Nadal eventually won the Australian Open for his 21st major trophy, breaking a tie with Djokovic and Roger Federer for the most claimed by a man in tennis history.

Djokovic is a 34-year-old from Serbia who, in April 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic raged, said he was opposed to getting vaccinated to travel. In June this year, during a hiatus in professional tennis, he organized a series of exhibition matches in Serbia and Croatia with no rules requiring social distancing or masking – a tour that was canceled after some players, including Djokovic, contracted COVID-19.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia in action during his quarter final match
Novak Djokovic will not play any tournaments in Indian Wells due to his unvaccinated status.
EPA/Ali Haider

His name was included in the draw for the BNP Paribas Open in California on Tuesday, despite his status being up in the air because the US requires foreign visitors to be vaccinated to enter the country. In addition, the tournament previously announced that everyone on site in Indian Wells must be fully vaccinated.

“While I was automatically listed in the @BNPPARIBASOPEN and @MiamiOpen draws,” Djokovic wrote Wednesday, “I knew it would be unlikely that I would be able to travel.”

Indian Wells is underway this week; The Miami Open begins on March 21st.

It’s been a turbulent start to 2022 for Djokovic, who has been jailed and put on trial during it an 11 day saga in Australia before being sent home. During the legal back-and-forth, Djokovic said he wasn’t vaccinated and thought he should be given a medical exemption to the rules requiring the shots because, he said, he tested positive for COVID-19 again in December. He also said he attended an in-person interview with a reporter despite that finding.

Djokovic said that in an interview in February he would not be vaccinatedeven if he has to be to compete in events like the French Open or Wimbledon.

On the last day of last month, Djokovic fell out of the No. 1 rankings for the first time in two years, slipping down to No. 2 behind Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic’s 361 total weeks at the top of the ATP is a record, as is his seven times when he finished a season at No. 1.

And on March 1, Djokovic announced that he and coach Marian Vajda were splitting up after 15 years together.

In his only on-pitch action of the year, Djokovic lost to Jiri Vesely in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships. The unvaccinated Novak Djokovic will not play in US tournaments


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