HomeSportNovak Djokovic barred from US tournaments

Novak Djokovic barred from US tournaments

Novak Djokovic (pictured) abandoned what appeared to be a last-ditch attempt to enter this week’s Masters level event at Indian Wells, but only after causing more embarrassment to the tour.

Tournament and ATP officials were initially blindsided by him remaining in the draw made late on Tuesday night, from which he had been expected to withdraw.

The confusion was only cleared up when he finally confirmed that he would not be travelling to the Californian desert.

He wrote on Twitter: “While I was automatically listed in the @bnpparibasopen and @miamiopen draw, I knew, given the entry requirements to the US, it would be unlikely I’d be able to travel there.

“But as international Covid regulations are always being amended, I wanted to wait and see if anything would change.

“The CDC confirmed today that regulations are not changing which means I will not be playing in the US.

I know my fans are looking forward to seeing me play again and I hope to be back playing for them on the tour soon.

Good luck to everyone who is playing in the US in these great tournaments.”

Djokovic, who claims he is not an anti-vaxxer, but wants freedom over what he puts in his body had previously insisted he would rather miss tournaments than be forced to take the jabs.

With the row over Alex Zverev’s non-suspension, and the burning questions over allowing Russian athletes to play on, it has only added to an extremely awkward week for the sport, and the ATP Tour in particular.

In Dubai two weeks ago Djokovic appeared resigned to the fact that he could not travel to America, while seeming adamant that he will not take the jab required to ensure his passage.

Yet his name remained in the draw, with event staff struggling to find out his exact intentions. With a first-round bye, he had until the weekend to turn up and take his place.

US entry regulations have the odd loophole for non-vaxxed travellers, on “national interest” and emergency grounds, but all require an exemption due to exceptional circumstances.

It has been another dreadful look for the game after the Melbourne debacle, with the gathering impression being that the top players are increasingly a law unto themselves.

Women’s world No 1 Ash Barty has already pulled out of this month’s US events on the vaguest of premises, saying her body is not ready. — Daily Mail.

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