Novak Djokovic prepares to make final call on Miami Open offer

Novak Djokovic during a match Credit: Alamy
Novak Djokovic during a match Credit: Alamy

The clock is ticking on Novak Djokovc’s hopes of getting an exemption for the Miami Open and he is set to make a final call on whether he will attempt to take an alternative route into America.

World No 1 Djokovic has been banned from entering America after he confirmed he was not vaccinated against Covid-19.

That decision forced him to miss all events in America last year, including the US Open, and his misery has continued into 2023.

Even though there are several unvaccinated players competing at the Indian Wells Masters this week, Djokovic is a notable absentee from the entry list as he was not allowed to enter America.

It is possible to enter America without being vaccinated against Covid by flying into the Bahamas and taking a boat from the Caribbean island, with Florida Governor and rumoured Presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis suggesting he would open the door to Djokovic to take that route.

“I would run a boat from the Bahamas here for him. I would do that a hundred percent,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Tampa.

“I think his people are looking at it. I think it’d be a great moment, but you know, nevertheless.

“The only thing keeping Novak Djokovic from participating in the Miami Open tennis tournament is President Biden’s misguided and unscientific COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreign travelers.

“Mr. President – lift your restrictions and let him compete.”

DeSantis is one of many American politicians who have suggested Djokovic should be allowed to play in Miami, yet US President Biden has shown no inclination to support his efforts to get an exception.

Now it seems that Djokovic is ready to give up on his hopes of getting into Miami, as he is ready to turn down Governor DeSantis’ offer to get him into the country via the back door route.

This is likely to be the final time Djokovic misses a tournament due to his vaccine status, with America due to loosen their entry requirements in May.

Yet that is unlikely to stop the increasingly vocal tide of negative comments flowing in the direction of President Biden and his vaccine requirements, which are amongst the most strict in the world.

Djokovic’s next tournament is likely to be the Monte Carlo Masters in the second week of April, with his hope of finishing the year as world No 1 only partially damaged by his exile from Indian Wells and Miami.

The Serbian has no points to defend for a large chunk of the second half of 2023, with his Wimbledon win last summer failing to deliver the 2,000 points he was due after he ATP stripped the tournament of points following their decision to ban Russian and Belarusian players in response to the war in Ukraine.

He also has no points to defend from the two Masters series events leading into the US Open, where could pick up another 2,000 points with a win.

If Djokovic continues to show the form he displayed by winning the Australian Open in January, he is the red-hot favourite to resume his role as the game’s dominant player.

Yet that will not dampen his frustration at missing the Miami Open later this month.

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