But Miami Open tournament director James Blake said that while they had tried to gain access to the 35-year-old Serbian star, “that couldn’t happen.”
“We organize one of the most important tournaments in the world. We’d like to have the best players who can play… And we’ve done everything we could, tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands,” Blake told the Tennis Channel on Friday.
“We would love to have him, and he is our greatest champion. He’s won here six times… But alas, that’s way above my pay grade,” he added.
Novak Djokovic withdraws from Indian Wells after vaccination exemption
Tournament officials in Indian Wells, California, also said Djokovic pulled out earlier this month.
Politicians, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), recently urged President Biden to exempt the highest-ranking player so he can compete in the Miami Open, which runs from March 19 to April 2 in Miami Gardens, Florida’s two Republican senators. had also asked Biden to accept the vaccine waiver request.
Still unvaccinated, Novak Djokovic seeks special entry to the United States
Officials from the US Open, the country’s Grand Slam event, had expressed their support for Djokovic, tweet that they “hoped that Novak succeeds in his petition to enter the country”.
The athlete’s unvaccinated status amid the coronavirus restrictions prevented him from competing in the US Open last year. He was deported from Australia last January in a story that divided his fans and detractors as health officials worldwide encouraged vaccination to stem the spread of the deadly virus. There was no mandatory vaccination requirement for entry into Britain, and Djokovic successfully defended his men’s singles title at Wimbledon last July.
In interviews last year, Djokovic said he was not part of the anti-vaccine movement, but supported freedom to choose.
Health officials say that people who are vaccinated and boosted not only protect themselves against serious illnesses, but also help protect the more vulnerable, including the immunocompromised.
Des Bieler and Cindy Boren contributed to this report.