Novak Djokovic named on Indian Wells entry list but faces fresh travel complications
Whilst Novak Djokovic has been named on the Indian Wells entry list, organisers have confirmed “valid proof of full vaccination” will be required for entry.
20-time Grand Slam legend Djokovic was engulfed in controversy at the Australian Open last month when he was eventually deported after an 11-day-long saga.
Upon arrival Djokovic had his medical exemption visa cancelled, but it was revealed in the legal proceedings that he was not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Djokovic’s deportation gave Slam rival Rafael Nadal the opportunity to claim a record-breaking 21st Slam title, an opportunity the Spanish great seized after coming from behind against US Open victor Daniil Medvedev in the final.
Similarly, Djokovic’s French Open participation was doubtful after French parliament passed vaccine passports, although these look set to be removed before Roland Garros.
He may be able to compete at Wimbledon due to England’s lax Covid restrictions, but nothing is certain due to the rapidly changing nature of the virus.
After such controversy, disappointment and confusion regarding future Slams, it is believed that Djokovic is strongly considering vaccination. Although, in the past he has strongly condemned vaccine mandates.
The World number one has been named on the entry list to the ‘fifth Grand Slam,’ but may face further complications should he still not be vaccinated.
As per regulations set by the United States government, non-US citizens are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in order to enter the country via air travel, with limited exceptions being granted.
Rivals such as Nadal and Medvedev, as well as World number three Alexander Zverev and World number four Stefanos Tsitsipas all look set to compete without hindrance.
When announcing the entry list, the Indian Wells organisers also issued a statement which read “with health and safety as the tournament’s top priority, the BNP Paribas Open (Indian Wells) will require valid proof of full vaccination to enter the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the tournament.
“The guidelines for the players are governed by the protocols established by their respective governing bodies, the WTA and ATP, as well as any restrictions established by the United States of America in regard to the vaccination status of international travellers entering the country.”
Djokovic will make his first appearance of the year and his first since December at the Dubai Tennis Championships, an event that doesn’t require vaccination in order to compete.
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