BREAKING NEWS: World No. 1 Novak Djokovic WITHDRAWS from Indian Wells

Unvaccinated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic WITHDRAWS from Indian Wells after appearing to lose out in his last-ditch bid to secure special waiver to enter the USA

  • Novak Djokovic will not be present at Indian Wells in California this week
  • Current US entry restrictions end in April, meaning he can play at the US Open
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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has formally withdrawn from the draw for the Indian Wells tournament, officials said on Sunday in an indication that his application for a COVID-19 vaccine waiver to enter the U.S. might have failed.

The Serbian, who is one of the most high-profile athletes unvaccinated against the virus, applied to the U.S. government last month for special permission to play at ATP Masters events at Indian Wells and Miami.

Current restrictions are due to end in April – leaving Djokovic free to play in this summer’s US Open – but it appears he will not be getting special treatment in his bid to enter the States early. 

The 22-time grand slam winner wanted to play the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which starts on Monday, and the Miami Open. He is currently still slated to play in the latter.

Djokovic’s bid to enter the US early had even been backed by the US Open and the United States Tennis Association, who had implored the government to make an exception for the tennis great. 

Novak Djokovic will not play at Indian Wells after withdrawing from the tournament on Sunday

His bid for special dispensation was backed by both the US Open (above) and the USTA

A post from the US Open Tennis Twitter account said: ‘Novak Djokovic is one the greatest champions our sport has ever seen.

‘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’s vaccination status led to him missing both the Australian Open – with him being deported from the country – and US Open last year.

With vaccination against Covid-19 no longer required to enter Australia, he then successfully challenged a three-year ban on applying for a visa and was able to compete in January’s Australian Open, going on to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

The Serb has just finished playing in Dubai and was ready to head to America if allowed

The 22-time grand slam winner has missed out on a host of big tournaments due to his decision to not receive the Covid-19 vaccine

Last week, the 35-year-old told a press conference regarding Indian Wells and Miami: ‘I’m waiting for a reply, it’s not on me. I will know soon.

‘Everything is in process. I’m thankful to the Indian Wells and Miami tournament and communities for their support publicly.

‘They would like me to be able to play in their tournaments. I’m very thankful for that because I have a big desire to be there, I haven’t played there for a couple of years.

‘I’m looking forward to a positive decision coming soon, but it’s not in my hands.’

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