Novak Djokovic - Australian Open 2023

Novak Djokovic admits he has ‘no regrets’ over missing the sunshine double due to his vaccination status

Novak Djokovic has spoken out for the first time since it was confirmed that he would miss both Indian Wells and Miami due to his vaccination status, meaning that he lost the No.1 ranking to Carlos Alcaraz last week.

Djokovic was unable to play the sunshine double for a second consecutive year, with the US not allowing people who have not received a Covid-19 vaccine to enter until the 11th May.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has not played at either Indian Wells or the Miami Open since 2019, and confirmed he was happy to stick with his decision to remain unvaccinated even if it did mean he could miss the biggest events.

“No, I have no regrets,” said Djokovic. “I’ve learned through life that regrets only hold you back and basically make you live in the past and I don’t want to do that.”

The Serb also congratulated his successor at the top of the rankings, Alcaraz, “I also don’t want to live too much in the future. I want to be as much as in the present moment, but of course think about the future, creating a better future. So I congratulate Alcaraz. He absolutely deserves to come back to No.1.”

While Djokovic claims he is happy with his decision, he did admit that he misses playing at the first two ATP Masters 1000 events of the year, “It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to play in Indian Wells, Miami. I love those tournaments.”

He continued, “I had plenty of success there, but at the same time, it is the conscious decision I made and I knew that there is always a possibility that I won’t go, and it is the current state or current situation that I hope will change for later this year for the US Open. That is the most important tournament for me on the American soil.”

The current situation indicates that Djokovic should be able to play all four majors this year, including the US Open, and the three-time champion in New York reflected on his last match at the event.

“I really want to be playing there, want to be there,” said the 35-year-old. “I actually had in 2021, when I lost in the finals against (Daniil) Medvedev, probably the one of best moments I ever had with the New York crowd and I’ve been fortunate to win that tournament three times and play many finals.”

Djokovic added, “Even though I lost that match, I received a lot of love and appreciation from people and I want to go back and I want to reconnect with the crowd there. So that’s something I’m looking forward to and hopefully it will happen.”

Now it has been confirmed that Djokovic will miss the sunshine double he is expected to return on the clay at the Monte Carlo Masters, which begin on the 9th April.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.