Tennis news
into your inbox

Thousands have already subscribed


Djokovic denied Covid-19 travel exemption to enter US to play Miami; now likely to return on clay in Monte-Carlo

The world No 1 is now likely to return to action at the Monte-Carlo Masters next month

Novak Djokovic backhand AI/Reuters/Panoramic

After his withdrawal from Indian Wells, the Novak Djokovic camp had had expressed hope, via his coach Goran Ivanisevic, that the world No 1 would be allowed in to play the Miami Open.

On Friday, it was confirmed that he will not.

Djokovic’s decision not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 meant that he fell foul of the United States’ laws for entry to the country for non-citizens. Though that law is due to be lifted in May, and though Djokovic asked for an exemption, the decision was made and stands.

“We did all that we could,” tournament director James Blake told the Tennis Channel. “We tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands. We tried, and he wasn’t able to play.

“Same result that he had in Indian Wells, where I know Tommy Haas (the tournament director) did as much as he could. We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to get an exemption, but that wasn’t able to happen.

“We’d love to have him, and he’s our greatest champion, he’s won six times here. Unfortunately, that’s way above my pay grade.”

Novak Djokovic at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters in 2021
Novak Djokovic at the Rolex Monte Carlo Masters in 2021 Image Credit: Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Monte-Carlo his most likely first event on clay

So Djokovic is likely to return on clay in Monte-Carlo, his home event, in April, having played just one event, in Dubai, since winning his record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

Speaking before the Miami decision, Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors that it would be a shame if he could not play Miami, but in terms of Monte-Carlo and the clay-court season, missing the US swing might actually accelerate his assimilation to clay.

“If not, it’s not the end of the world, he didn’t play last year as well,” Ivanisevic said at the time.

“In terms of preparing for the European clay-court season, I’m not sure playing in Miami is the best solution. It depends on Novak – in the past he has triumphed in Monte Carlo having played in Indian Wells and Miami.

“If he is mentally ready and in his fighter mode, like he was in Australia, then anything is possible.”

The Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters begins on April 9.

Your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *