Novak Djokovic Withdraws from Indian Wells, DeSantis Requests U.S. Entry Waiver for Miami Open

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the 2023 BNP Paribas Open, the tournament has announced, marking the fourth consecutive year he will not play at the iconic Indian Wells tennis tournament.[0] Due to his Covid-19 vaccination status, Djokovic – a five-time Indian Wells and six-time Miami Open champion – cannot currently enter the United States. Djokovic has been stymied from entering the United States due to his refusal to accept the COVID-19 vaccine, and his ability to play in the Miami Open, which runs from March 19 to April 2, is in jeopardy.

As a result, on Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting that he grant Djokovic permission to enter the U.S. Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio also wrote to President Joe Biden requesting his approval for a waiver for Djokovic, saying, “It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.”[1]

DeSantis proposed that Djokovic should come to Miami by boat, and requested that Biden reply to his letter by Friday to determine if this type of journey into Florida would be allowed.[2] Djokovic said last month that he had hoped for a “positive result” on being able to receive special permission to play tournaments in the US, where international visitors must be vaccinated in order to gain entry.

Last week, Djokovic, a renowned athlete without Covid vaccination, expressed his wish for a favorable result after submitting his request to come to the U.S. for the ATP Masters 1000 competitions in Indian Wells and Miami this month. “I’m still waiting for the news from America.[3] If there were no America, I suppose I would play clay.[3] The upcoming tournament is likely to be Monte-Carlo.[3] In that event, I will take a break and get ready.[4] Clay courts are widely known to be the most challenging surfaces to play on.[3]

0. “The Vaccine Ban on Foreigners Isn’t Just Hurting Djokovic. It’s Hurting Americans | Opinion” Newsweek, 8 Mar. 2023,

1. “DeSantis jokes about smuggling Novak Djokovic into Florida” Washington Examiner, 8 Mar. 2023,

2. “DeSantis floats an idea to let Novak Djokovic play in Miami Open” Tampa Bay Times, 7 Mar. 2023,

3. “Reilly Opelka slams Novak Djokovic US entry ban: What a shame” Tennis World USA, 6 Mar. 2023,

4. “Novak Djokovic withdraws from BNP Paribas Open amid visa debacle” CNN, 6 Mar. 2023,

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