Novak Djokovic denied permission to compete in Miami Open

Serbian star also missed tournament at Indian Wells after being unable to secure exemption over his unvaccinated status

World No1 Novak Djokovic has been denied permission to compete in the US as he is unvaccinated. PA
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Novak Djokovic will not be competing in the Miami Open that starts next week after the Serbian star was denied special permission to play in the US.

World No 1 Djokovic is not vaccinated against Covid-19, and currently only international visitors who have taken the vaccine are allowed entry into the country.

Those restrictions are due to be lifted next month and the Serbian had hoped to gain special permission to play in the US this month at Indian Wells and Miami.

Djokovic had to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open after being unable to secure special dispensation. Miami tournament director James Blake confirmed that Djokovic has also failed in his bid to feature at the Florida tournament.

"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 Djokovic to enter the US and compete at the tournament he has won six times.

Djokovic's opposition to being vaccinated resulted in him missing six important tournaments last season, including the Australian Open and US Open.

With vaccination against Covid-19 no longer required to enter Australia, he competed in this year's Australian Open in January and claimed a 22nd grand slam single title.

The 35-year-old is set to return to action on clay at the Monte Carlo Masters beginning on April 9.

Updated: March 18, 2023, 4:57 AM