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Djokovic accepts missing Miami Open over US COVID vaccination requirements

Adelaide International - Memorial Drive Tennis Club, Adelaide, Australia - January 5, 2023 Serbia's Novak Djokovic during a press conference after winning his second round match against France's Quentin Halys REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Novak Djokovic said he had no choice but to sit out tournaments in the United States after authorities said non-nationals will need to have had COVID-19 vaccinations to enter the country.

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday said the requirement for foreign air travellers to be fully vaccinated against the disease would be in place until April 10.

That would mean Djokovic would miss the hardcourt ATP Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells, which runs from March 6-19, as well as the Miami Open from March 20 to April 2.

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“Look, if it is official, then it is. I mean, what can I do? Nothing, that’s it. You know my position. It is what it is,” Djokovic told reporters after he advanced to the quarter-finals of the Adelaide International 1 on Thursday.

“I’m hoping (to participate), but if I can’t go, I can’t go.”

Djokovic missed the tournaments last year as well and he was unable to travel to New York in August for the U.S. Open without proof of vaccination.

The 35-year-old was also unable to defend his Australian Open crown last year after being deported from the country on the eve of the hardcourt major due to his unvaccinated status.

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The 21-times Grand Slam winner was, however, granted a visa this year after Australia scrapped a rule that required international travellers to declare their COVID vaccination status.

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