Novak Djokovic will not play at the Miami Open after failing to receive a waiver to enter the United States despite not being vaccinated for Covid-19.
Tournament director James Blake told The Tennis Channel on Saturday that the world number one, a six-time Miami champion, was denied entry despite the best effort of tournament officials.
“We did all we could. We tried to talk to the government but it’s out of our hands,” Blake said ahead of the start of the tournament next week.
“We tried and he wasn’t able to play, same result as he had in Indian Wells.” Djokovic was not allowed a spot in the ongoing Masters 1000 event in the California desert.
“We’d love to have him and he’s our greatest champion, six times here, so we’d obviously love to have him here but unfortunately that’s way above my pay grade,” Blake said.
Djokovic has missed other events due to being unvaccinated against Covid, but was allowed to compete in this year’s Australian Open and won his 10th crown at Melbourne for his 22nd career Grand Slam title — level with Spain’s Rafael Nadal for the all-time men’s record.
“We exhausted all the options that we know of that we can handle,” Blake said. “Hopefully Novak will be back next year.”
US authorities are expected to ease vaccination entry requirements in May, which would allow Djokovic to play at the US Open.
“Hopefully he will be back probably in all the later events in the States, Cincinnati and the US Open,” Blake said.
Djokovic has not played in Miami since a fourth-round exit in 2019.