Novak Djokovic pulls out of Indian Wells and hints at next tournament

Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open

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World No.1 Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the Indian Wells Masters and has already hinted at his next tournament following a break from action. The Serbian tennis star suffered his first defeat of the season at the hands of Danill Medvedev at last week’s Dubai Open and had been due to head for the States.

His brother Djordje has now revealed that the world No.1 had applied for a “special permit” to enter America and play the ‘Sunshine Double’ this month, with Miami Open following Indian Wells. The 22-time Grand Slam winner remains unvaccinated against Covid-19, resulting in his tennis schedule being impacted, having famously missed out on last year’s Australian and US Opens.

The US still has Covid restrictions banning unvaccinated vistors from entry into the country, a policy that is expected to be lifted on May 11.

According to Florida Senator Rick Scott, the tennis star has seen his “special permit” request refused and has been denied access to the country. It was announced on Sunday that the Serbian has been replaced at the Indian Wells Masters by Nikoloz Basilashvili.

Meanwhile, the US Open and United States Tennis Association has backed Djokovic and released their own statement on Friday, calling for the Serbian to be allowed into the country to play this month’s Masters 1000 events. Australian Open winner Djokovic confirmed on Thursday that he would withdraw from Indian Wells before the draw was made if he hadn’t received a response from the government in that time.

There is a still a possibility that the American authorities will make a U-turn on his entry decision in time for Djokovic to compete in the Miami Open ahead of the first round on March 22. The Serbian saw his first defeat of the year in Dubai to Medvedev and outlined his schedule if he was refused entry to America.


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He said: “If there’s no America, I guess I’ll play clay. Monte-Carlo is probably the next tournament. If that’s the case, I’ll take some time off, I’ll prepare. Clay, as we’ve said, is the most demanding surface. It takes time more than any other surface to prepare for.”

The Monte-Carlo Masters takes place between April 8 and 16 so it could be over a month before Djokovic is back in competitive action as he starts his French Open preparations. A battle for the Grand Slam title record with Rafael Nadal looks set to continue at Roland-Garros with both players tied on 22 major titles during their careers.

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