Novak Djokovic will miss next week’s Miami Open after the Serbian was denied an exemption that would have allowed him to enter the US despite not being vaccinated against Covid-19, tournament director James Blake said yesterday.
“We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to get an exemption, but that wasn’t able to happen,” Blake told Tennis Channel.
“Obviously, we’re one of the premier tournaments in the world, we’d like to have the best players that can play. We did all that we could. We tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state’s two US senators were among those calling on the Biden administration to allow world number one Djokovic to enter the US and compete at the tournament he has won six times.
Djokovic, 35, is also missing the ongoing Masters tournament in Indian Wells, California due to his inability to secure the exemption.
The US currently bars unvaccinated foreigners from entry into the country, a policy that is expected to be lifted when the government ends its Covid-19 emergency declarations on May 11.
Djokovic, who missed last year’s Australian Open after being deported from that country due to his vaccination status, has said he would skip Grand Slams rather than have a Covid shot.
He won his record-tying 22nd Grand Slam at the Australian Open in January. He has not played at Indian Wells or the Miami Open - which together comprise the “Sunshine Double” - since 2019.
A representative for Djokovic said the player would make no further comment regarding his absence from the Miami tournament, and he planned to return to the tour at the Monte Carlo Masters claycourt event that begins on April 9.
Djokovic will then continue his preparations for the French Open in May by playing in the Srpska Open in Banja Luka, Bosnia.

Svitolina to make comeback at Charleston Open in April
Former world number three Elina Svitolina will make her return to the WTA Tour following her maternity break at next month’s Charleston Open in South Carolina after accepting a wild card, organisers of the claycourt tournament said.
Ukraine’s Svitolina, who last played a year ago in Miami, is set to return to action following the birth of her daughter Skai with husband and fellow tennis player Gael Monfils. The 28-year-old has also partnered with the tournament and WTA Charities to host a special “Tennis Plays for Peace” pro-am event in April, benefiting war-torn Ukraine and the Elina Svitolina Foundation. “Increasing awareness and raising funds for Ukraine is very important to us as a tournament and to our players,” tournament director Bob Moran said in a statement.
“We are passionate about working with Elina, who has a deep and personal understanding of the needs in her home country right now, to further exemplify the mission of Tennis Plays for Peace and stand united with Ukraine.”
The tournament hosted a pro-am in 2022 and raised $100,000 in donations for relief efforts in Ukraine.
Svitolina, who has 16 WTA titles and is a two-times Grand Slam semi-finalist, will be joined in the Charleston field by five former champions including holder Belinda Bencic.
Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka has also signed up to play.
The Charleston Open will take place from April 1-9, organisers have confirmed.
Related Story