World no. 1 Novak Djokovic withdrew from the season’s first Masters 1000 event in Indian Wells! Despite the efforts of Novak himself and the tournament organizers, the Serb is still not allowed to enter the USA due to his vaccination status.
Florida’s U.S. Senator Rick Scott shared bad news for Djokovic and his fans a few days ago, and Novak withdrew on Monday morning. Novak requested an exemption from the rule prohibiting not permanent USA residents from entering the country if they have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Homeland security rejected Djokovic’s request, and the Serb will take a break from tennis in the upcoming four or five weeks. Novak missed two Majors and four Masters 1000 events in 2022 due to his vaccination status and still finished in the top-5, even without well-earned 2000 ATP points at Wimbledon.
Now, he will skip two more notable tournaments, but his struggle should end after that, getting the green light to play in the USA in August and September.
Novak Djokovic withdrew from Indian Wells.
The Indian Wells and Miami Open tournament directors gave their best to bring Novak to the USA and have him in the draw.
However, they must wait for another opportunity, as he had to cancel his participation. Novak is one of the most successful players in Indian Wells and Miami, playing back-to-back finals there at 19 in 2007 and winning multiple titles in the upcoming years.
Djokovic had to skip Indian Wells and Miami last year as well, not playing the ‘Sunshine Double’ since 2019 when he failed to reach the quarter-final at both events. Novak stands as the leader of the pack with 38 Masters 1000 crowns, with an excellent chance to chase the 40th for the rest of the season, as he can enter the remaining six Masters 1000 events.
Djokovic has been a player to beat since the last year’s Wimbledon, winning six titles and standing on 93, passing Rafael Nadal for the first time in a career. Novak missed Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open last summer, not playing for over two months and returning to action in Tel Aviv and Astana.
The Serb conquered both events, lost in the Paris Masters final to Holger Rune and claimed his first ATP Finals title since 2015. Novak got a chance to become world no. 1 at the start of 2023 and used it with both hands after winning Adelaide and his 22nd Major crown at the Australian Open.
Djokovic suffered his first season’s loss in the Dubai semi-final to Daniil Medvedev and will compete again in Monte Carlo in April.