Novak Djokovic, one of the world’s top sports stars who has faced a coronavirus vaccination, was included on the court at this week’s Indian Wells Tennis Championships in Southern California, but said on Wednesday he could not enter the United States and won’t participate.
Djokovic was deported from Australia in January after immigration officials there ruled he was a danger to society because they said the country’s anti-vaccination movement could be revitalized. He was thus unable to defend his Australian Open title, which he held a record nine times.
Djokovic has expressed his unwillingness to get vaccinated against the Corona virus, saying that he is not convinced by the science. He said the issue was more important to him than adding to the 20 championships he won at the Grand Slam.
Djokovic told Australian border officials in January that he had not been vaccinated, and in recent interviews he gave no indication that his situation had changed.
Djokovic was the second seed in the tournament. His name and photo appear on the players list for the main draw of the BNP Paribas Open, which begins on Wednesday at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Although it is not one of the sport’s four grand slams, the hard court event is considered one of the biggest in the world.
In a tweet, Djokovic said the Centers for Disease Control and Protection confirmed that he was barred from entering the United States, and that he would not miss tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami.
Under US immigration law, non-citizens and non-immigrants must also show proof of complete vaccination as well as a negative coronavirus test to enter the country by air.
Djokovic spent two years #1 in the game until February, when Slide to No. 2.
In his absence, Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open and led by one advantage over his opponent as the men’s player with the most victories in the Grand Slam. Nadal is also listed among the players at Indian Wells, although Roger Federer, who has also won 20 Grand Slam titles, is not.
Last week, officials in France announced that the country would no longer require visitors to show proof of a coronavirus vaccine to enter indoor institutions after March 14, potentially paving the way for Djokovic to defend his championship at this spring’s French Open.