Djokovic added to Indian Wells draw, unclear if he can enter US, say event organisers, Latest Tennis News - The New Paper

Djokovic added to Indian Wells draw, unclear if he can enter US, say event organisers

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS, AFP) - Indian Wells organisers said on Tuesday (March 8) that world No. 2 Novak Djokovic had been placed in the tournament's draw but it was unclear if the Serbian would be permitted to enter the United States.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner has refused to obtain a Covid-19 vaccine and previously said that he was prepared to miss tournaments as a consequence.

"Novak Djokovic is on the tournament entry list and therefore is placed into the draw today. We are currently in communication with his team," the organisers tweeted.

"It has not been determined if he will participate in the event by getting CDC (US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention) approval to enter the country."

The CDC website as of March 3 indicated non-US citizens who are not immigrants must show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 in order to travel by air to the country.

The Indian Wells men's draw on Tuesday showed five-time champion Djokovic had a first-round bye and will likely play in the next round on Sunday. The women's first round began yesterday while the men's starts today.

The 34-year-old was unable to compete at the Australian Open after immigration authorities detained him on Jan 6, prompting a legal roller-coaster ride over the country's Covid-19 entry rules that led to the cancellation of his visa and subsequent deportation that month.

The California tournament, often referred to as tennis' "fifth Major", is expected to welcome a full house after it was cancelled in 2020 and moved to October last year due to the pandemic.

With Roger Federer out of the tournament as he recovers from knee surgery and Djokovic previously presumed absent, Rafael Nadal is widely favoured to pick up his fourth Indian Wells title.

The Spaniard is also seeking a men's record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title at the French Open in May after winning the Australian Open in January.

Djokovic most recently competed in Dubai last month, when Czech Jiri Vesely stunned him in the quarter-finals.

The loss meant that he lost his world No. 1 ranking to Russian Daniil Medvedev, who is the top seed at Indian Wells.

France loosened Covid-19 restrictions earlier this month, with vaccine passports no longer mandatory as of March 14, opening the door for Djokovic to mount a title defence at Roland Garros.

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