Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells and Miami Open over US coronavirus rules
Novak Djokovic's plans to play at the Indian Wells and Miami Open remains unsuccessful after the US doesn't allow the unvaccinated Serb by changing CDC rules.
The recent suspense on whether Novak Djokovic will be able to play in the first two ATP Masters events of the year - the Indian Wells and the Miami Open has finally been dispelled with the World No. 2 Serb withdrawing from them owing to the vaccination rules of the US.
According to the policies of the US, any non-US citizen is required to show proof of their vaccination to get permission to enter the Blue and Stripes land.
Novak Djokovic, the 20-time Grand Slam champion, who was embroiled in a dragged-out court saga at the Australian Open earlier this year for not being vaccinated and eventually, deported from Down Under, told the BBC that he is willing to pay the price and miss out on tournaments if need be, but he won't be taking the vaccine.
There was fresh confusion when the official handle of the BNP Paribas Open - the Indian Wells indicated that Djokovic's name was very much in the draw and the Serb didn't withdraw till the very last minute. The BNP Paribas Open also mentioned that Djokovic might be trying to obtain a CDC approval to gain entry into the tournament, a matter they were foggy about.
However, the Serb took to his social media handles to take care of the confusion and announced that he won't be participating in both the tournaments as he cannot travel to the US because of his unvaccinated status.
Djokovic mentioned that he was aware that the chances of him being able to travel was "unlikely" but his late withdrawal from the two events, created quite the confusion and now the Indian Wells draw will be less balanced because of this late announcement.
As the next player in line to be seeded outside the tournament's top 32, last year's semi-finalist Grigor Dimitrov will move into Djokovic's space in the draw. A lucky loser from qualifying will fill the Bulgarian's spot in due course.
Novak Djokovic, in all likelihood, is set to make a return for the clay season with the Monte Carlo Masters in April and will go on to play the French Open, as France has relaxed its vaccination rules.