Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells on the eve of the tie

ESPN News Services1 minute to read

Novak Djokovic has officially withdrawn from the draw for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, tournament officials said on Sunday, in a sign that the world No. 1’s application for a COVID-19 vaccine exemption to enter the United States may have failed.

Djokovic, who is from Serbia and is not immune to COVID-19, applied to the US government last month for special permission to play in the ATP Masters events in Indian Wells and Miami.

“World number one Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the 2023 BNP Paribas Open. With his withdrawal, Nikoloz Basilashvili takes to the field,” tournament organizers said in a statement.

Play at the joint WTA-WTA event begins on Wednesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden and runs until March 19. Draw on Monday.

On Friday, Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote on Twitter The Department of Homeland Security has denied Djokovic’s request to waive a vaccine. Scott and fellow Florida senator Marco Rubio wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden urging him to approve the request.

The United States ends its COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 11, which would allow foreign travelers to enter the province without being vaccinated.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion lost in the semi-finals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday. He has not played back-to-back events in Indian Wells and Miami, two of the biggest tournaments in the ATP calendar, since 2019.

Information from the Associated Press and Reuters is included in this report.

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