Novak Djokovic banned from entering another tournament after invite

Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open

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Novak Djokovic has reportedly been invited to play at an event in Italy during the Miami Open later this month but the Serb will not be allowed to do so under current ATP rules. Djokovic is set to miss out on taking part at the Miami Open and Indian Wells in the United States as a result of the government requirements in place, which will prevent him from gaining entry into the country due to his refusal to be jabbed against COVID-19.

Djokovic returned to the summit of the world rankings by winning the Australian Open earlier this year and his absence from this month’s tournaments across the Atlantic has caused no shortage of controversy over the last few months. The 35-year-old has since been asked to compete at an upcoming ATP Challenger 125 event by Tennis Club Sanremo, although it seems clear that he will be left unable to accept the invitation due to reasons beyond his control.

Article 7.07 of the ATP Rulebook clearly states that Djokovic will not be allowed to play at the event regardless of whether or not he is willing to do so after missing out on the Miami Open. It reads: “Players positioned 1-10 in the ATP Singles Rankings twenty-one days prior to the first Monday of the ATP Challenger Tour tournament are prohibited from entering, accepting a wild card and/or competing in an ATP Challenger Tour tournament.”

Meanwhile, it seems as though Djokovic will simply be forced to watch the action at this month’s Miami Open from afar, with the US government showing no sign of changing their stance on the matter as things stand. Florida governor Ron DeSantis recently urged president Joe Biden to make an exception in order to allow Djokovic to play, even going as far as to suggest that he would happily bring him to the state from the Bahamas via a boat.

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“I would run a boat from the Bahamas here for him, I would do that, 100 per cent,” said DeSantis at a press conference. “I think his people are looking at it, and I’m not sure that’s the way they want to come into the country, which I understand. 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 travellers. Mr. President, lift your restrictions and let him compete.”

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre went on to respond to DeSantis by insisting that the rules will remain in place for everybody without exceptions until further notice, saying: “On a question of regarding the vaccination requirement, I’d refer you to the CDC [Centres for Disease Control], they’re the ones who deal with that.

“It’s still in place and we expect everyone to abide by our country’s rule, whether as a participant or as a spectator. As for what goes on for specifically with the BNP [Indian Wells], those are questions for them. They are a private entity so we will let them speak to that.”

The US government is reportedly planning to review its entry requirements in May, which could see Djokovic receive the green light to compete at the US Open later this year if the restrictions are overturned. He will remain banned from playing in the country until then, though, with the Belgrade native widely expected to return to competitive tennis at the Monte Carlo Masters in early April.

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