Tennis: Djokovic Hopes To Participate In US Tournaments

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Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic said he was hoping for a positive outcome, having applied for special permission to enter the United States to compete in ATP Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami that begin next month.

Djokovic, one of the most high-profile athletes unvaccinated against COVID-19, added he would return to the ATP tour in Dubai next week after winning a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and his 22nd Grand Slam last month.

“My plans after Dubai depend on the U.S. I’m waiting for a reply, it’s not on me. I will know soon,” world number one Djokovic told reporters in Belgrade.

“Everything is in process. I’m thankful to the Indians Wells and Miami communities for their support,” Djokovic added.

“They would like me to be able to play in their tournaments. I’m looking forward to a positive decision coming soon, but it’s not in my hands.”

The US COVID-19 vaccine requirement for foreign air travellers is not expected to be lifted before the main draw begins at Indian Wells on March 9th and the Miami Open later in the month. This means Djokovic could miss out for a second straight year.

US President Joe Biden’s administration said last month it would lift COVID-19 emergency declarations on May 11th. But Djokovic, who was named on the Indian Wells entry list, said he had submitted the required documentation for special permission.

Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas said last month it would be a “disgrace” if Djokovic was not allowed to compete in the US in 2023, after the Serbian also missed last year’s major at Flushing Meadows.

Djokovic, who missed last year’s Australian Open and was deported from the country due to his vaccine status, has said he would skip Grand Slams rather than have a COVID-19 shot.

“Last year I missed Indian Wells, Miami and the US Open swing so it won’t be the first time if it happens (again). I hope it doesn’t,” Djokovic said. “That’s all I can do because my position stays the same. The U.S. Open is still far away so I hope I’ll be able to be there.”

“It’s one of the four biggest events in our sport’s history. Of course I’d love to be there. I’ve received the most wonderful support from the New York and American crowd during the 2021 final I lost to Daniil Medvedev.”

“But I experienced something that I never did there before. So I want to go back and connect with people and hopefully play my best tennis and get another trophy there,” Djokovic concluded.

Source Reuters
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