Novak Djokovic vaccination triggers Indian Wells draw fiasco Tennis news 2022

Tennis has become a laughing stock as Serbian Novak Djokovic remains in the Indian Wells draw despite not being allowed to enter America.

Tennis has become a laughing stock as Novak Djokovic remains in the Indian Wells draw despite not being allowed to enter America due to his vaccination status.

Things took a bizarre turn with Djokovic, who was kicked out of Australia and missed the Australian Open due to his refusal to get vaccinated.

On Tuesday night, many wondered why he was still on Indian Wells’ roster ahead of today’s draw, then were shocked when he wasn’t removed.

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A brief statement from tournament organizers said officials were in contact with Djokovic’s team to determine whether he would play in California or even be allowed to enter the United States.

“Novak Djokovic is on the entry list for the tournament, and is therefore placed in the draw today,” wrote the BNP Paribas Open on its official Twitter page.

“We are currently in communication with his team; however, it has not been determined whether he will participate in the event obtaining CDC approval to enter the country.

“We will provide updates in the future as we learn more.”

The update comes despite a cutout of Djokovic already being put on the tournament’s ‘we miss you’ wall, which includes stars unable to perform in the California desert.

Tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg tweeted: “What a clusterf***”.

Djokovic is a five-time champion at Indian Wells, where organizers said proof of full vaccination would be required for spectator entry to the California desert field.

Under US government regulations, all non-US citizen travelers entering the United States must be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Indian Wells is one of the most prestigious tournaments on the tennis calendar and is often referred to as the unofficial “fifth Grand Slam”.

Last month, Djokovic claimed that if his participation in future tournaments depended on him being vaccinated, then “that’s the price I’m willing to pay”.

“I fully understand and support the freedom to choose whether you want to get vaccinated or not,” he told the BBC. “I haven’t talked about it before and I didn’t disclose my medical records and vaccination status because I had a right to keep it private and discreet. But as I see it, there are a lot of findings and wrong assumptions and I think it’s important to talk about it and justify some things.

“I have never been against vaccination. I get it overall, everyone is trying hard to manage this virus and hopefully see the end of this virus soon. And the vaccination was probably the biggest effort that was made, probably half the planet was vaccinated. And I totally respect that.

“But I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body. For me, this is essential. It’s really the principle of understanding what’s right and wrong for you and me as an elite professional athlete, I’ve always carefully reviewed, evaluated everything that comes in from supplements, food, water I drink, sports drinks, anything that goes into my body as fuel. Based on all the information I got, I decided not to take the vaccine starting today.

“The principles of decision-making on my body are more important than any title or anything else. I try to be in tune with my body as much as possible.

— with AFP


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