Covid restrictions force Djokovic to withdraw from two tournaments

Novac Djokovic has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, the tournament announced Wednesday, and says he will be unable to compete in upcoming US events due to Covid restrictions.

The world number two, who also confirmed on social media he will be unable to take part at the Miami Open, remains unvaccinated and is therefore not permitted to enter the United States.

Djokovic said on Instagram: “While I was automatically listed in the @bnpparibasopen and @miamiopen draw, I knew, given the entry requirements to the US, it would be unlikely I’d be able to travel there.

“But as international COVID regulations are always being amended, I wanted to wait and see if anything would change.

“The CDC (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) confirmed today that regulations are not changing which means I will not be playing in the US.”

The 20-time Grand Slam winner was deported from Australia ahead of the Melbourne Grand Slam earlier this year after his visa was twice cancelled following his arrival into the country on a medical exemption. He has since stated he was prepared to miss tournaments as a consequence of his refusal to be vaccinated.

His withdrawal means Grigor Dimitrov will take Djokovic’s place in the draw, while a lucky loser from qualifying will fill Dimitrov’s place in the draw once qualifying is complete, the tournament confirmed on social media.

Djokovic’s last appearance on court was his defeat to Czech Jiri Vesely in the quarter-finals in Dubai, which resulted in him surrendering his world number one ranking to Daniil Medvedev. – Sky Sports

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