- The Washington Times - Monday, March 6, 2023

Novak Djokovic won’t be competing in two upcoming American tennis tournaments after his COVID-19 vaccine waiver was denied.

“World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the 2023 BNP Paribas Open,” BNP Paribas Open tournament organizers said in a statement to ESPN. “With his withdrawal, Nikoloz Basilashvili moves into the field.”

The 22-time Grand Slam winner will also not compete in the Miami Open, which begins March 19. The BNP Paribas

Djokovic, a Serbian national, can’t enter the U.S. because he’s not vaccinated against the coronavirus. He sought special permission from the federal government last month in order to enter the country. The restriction on unvaccinated foreigners ends when the U.S.’ COVID-19 emergency expires on May 11. 

“If there’s no America, I guess I’ll play clay,” Djokovic told reporters Friday after he was defeated by Daniil Medvedev in Dubai, according to CNN. “Monte Carlo is probably the next tournament. If that’s the case, I’ll take some time off, I’ll prepare.”

Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican, called on President Biden to reverse the waiver denial on Friday. He and fellow Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio previously penned a joint statement calling on the Biden administration to grant the waiver to Djokovic

Novak Djokovic is one the greatest champions our sport has ever seen,” the US Open said Friday. “The USTA and US Open are hopeful that Novak is successful in his petition to enter the country, and that the fans will be able to see him back in action at Indian Wells and Miami.”

Djokovic hasn’t competed at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, or the Miami Open since 2019.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Matt Delaney can be reached at mdelaney@washingtontimes.com.

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