The COVID-19 vaccine requirement extended until Apr. 10 means that Novak Djokovic could again risk missing two ATP 1000 events
Photo by Loren Elliott/Reuters
(Reuters) – Novak Djokovic is set to miss the Indian Wells and Miami Open ATP 1000 events this year if he remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, after United States authorities said non-nationals will need to have taken their shots to enter the country.
A statement from the Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday said the requirement for foreign air travelers to be fully vaccinated against the disease would be in place until Apr. 10.
Indian Wells runs from Mar. 6 to 19 and the Miami Open from Mar. 20 to Apr. 2 and Djokovic risks missing the two important hardcourt tournaments if he does not take the vaccine.
The 35-year-old Serb was unable to defend his Australian Open crown last year after being deported from that country on the eve of the hardcourt major due to his unvaccinated status.
“What happened 12 months ago wasn’t easy to digest for some time but at the same time, I had to move on,” Novak Djokovic said last week in his first news conference since landing in Australia
Djokovic, who has won 21 Grand Slam titles, was also not able to travel to New York for the 2022 US Open without proof of vaccination, the same reason that had forced him to miss tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami.
The nine-time Australian Open champion is currently warming up for the 2023 season in Adelaide for the Jan. 16 to 29 Australian Open, after his three-year travel ban for the country was waived in November.
That decision opened a path for him to target a 10th title at the Grand Slam and tie Rafael Nadal’s mark of 22 majors.
Djokovic, who previously stated he would miss Grand Slams rather than have the COVID vaccine, said last week that he would never forget how it felt to be deported from Australia but hoped to move on from the incident.
“What happened 12 months ago wasn’t easy to digest for some time but at the same time, I had to move on,” Djokovic said last week in his first news conference since landing in Australia.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)