Posted by on March 8, 2023 12:48 pm
Categories: News Washington Examiner

Novak Djokovic banned: Why can’t world’s top tennis star play at Indian Wells tournament

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts after he lost their semi final match against Daniil Medvedev at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, March 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) Kamran Jebreili/AP

Novak Djokovic banned: Why can’t world’s top tennis star play at Indian Wells tournament

Jack Birle March 08, 12:04 PMMarch 08, 12:04 PM Video Embed

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California earlier this week after he was denied a waiver to enter the United States. His status for the Miami Open in Florida is also in danger.

Djokovic, the world No. 1 in tennis, cannot enter the U.S. because he has not received the COVID-19 vaccine, which is still required for foreigners entering the country.


The Transportation Safety Administration has a rule in place requiring all entrants into the U.S. to provide “Proof of Being Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19” before being allowed entry. The rule will expire on April 10 and is unlikely to be extended as President Joe Biden said the federal emergency over coronavirus will end May 11.

The tennis player attempted to get a waiver to enter the country for the tournaments but was denied, according to Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who wrote a letter of support for him to be allowed entry to Biden.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is the latest Sunshine State politician to call on Biden to let Djokovic play, arguing the current rule is “out-of-date.”

“The only thing keeping Mr. Djokovic from participating in this tournament is your administration’s continued enforcement of a misguided, unscientific, and out-of-date COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreign guests seeking to visit our great country,” DeSantis wrote in a letter obtained by the Washington Examiner.

He also floated the idea of Djokovic arriving in Florida for the Miami Open by boat because the executive order specifying the vaccine requirement only discusses air arrivals.

“Your administration does not appear to have issued analogous restrictions for non-U.S. individuals seeking to enter our country by boat,” DeSantis said in the footnote in the letter.


Entry requirements involving vaccines have caused problems for Djokovic in the past. He was deported from Australia before the Australian Open in 2022 due to not having the COVID-19 vaccine.

Djokovic has also had to withdraw from other tennis events in the United States, including the U.S. Open in August and September 2022. His denied entry is under further scrutiny now due to the coming end of the rule and the entire federal coronavirus emergency.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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