Tennis: Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells, still can't legally enter U.S.

Serbian Novak Djokovic is the No. 1 player in the ATP Tour singles rankings. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Serbian Novak Djokovic is the No. 1 player in the ATP Tour singles rankings. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

March 6 (UPI) -- Novak Djokovic withdrew from the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament at Indian Wells on the night of the draw, indicating that his bid to travel to the U.S. despite being unvaccinated likely failed, organizers announced.

BNP Paribas Open announced the Serbian's withdrawal Sunday night. He was replaced by Georgia's Nikoloz Basilashvili in the draw.


Djokovic, the No. 1 men's tennis player in the world, told reporters last month that he asked authorities to allow him to enter the United States to play two upcoming tennis tournaments, despite travel rules that restrict him from doing so until mid-April.

The BNP Paribas Open will be held from Wednesday through March 19 in Indian Wells, Calif. The Miami Open will be held March 22 to April 2 in Miami Gardens, Fla.

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In January, the Transportation Security Administration extended its requirement for foreign travelers to provide proof of vaccination through April 10.

Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, last played in the United States in 2021, when he lost to Daniil Medvedev in the 2021 U.S. Open final. Djokovic hasn't played at Indian Wells and in the Miami Open in the same year since 2019.


The U.S. Open tweeted last week that tournament and United States Tennis Association officials were "hopeful" Djokovic's petition to enter the4 country was "successful."

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Just one U.S. tournament is scheduled for April, while several will be held in July and August ahead of the 2023 U.S. Open. That annual Grand Slam will be held from Aug 28 through Sept. 10 in Flushing, N.Y.

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