It may be time for Novak Djokovic to be allowed into the US to play in Indian Wells, but US politicians, particularly the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis are lobbying for rule changes and allowing the world’s No. 1 to enter the country in time for the Miami Open.
The US continues to require foreign visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Serb, who has previously said he remains unvaccinated, has confirmed he applied for a special entry permit ahead of both tournaments.
However, Indian Wells organizers announced On Sunday, Djokovic withdrew from the tournament, where the main draw began on Wednesday.
DeSantis said he would “drift a boat from the Bahamas” for Djokovic so he could play in the Miami Open tennis tournament later this month.
“I would arrange a boat for him from the Bahamas. I would do it one hundred percent,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Tampa on Wednesday.
“I think his people are looking at it and I’m not sure that’s how they want to come into the country, which I understand. I think it would be a great moment, but still, you know.”
Proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for non-US citizens and non-immigrant passengers arriving from another country in the US by air, according to the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although this applies to other forms of travel as well.
On Tuesday, DeSantis urged US President Joe Biden to intervene and allow Djokovic to compete in the tournament.
“The only thing keeping Novak Djokovic from participating in the Miami tennis tournament is President Biden’s misguided and unscientific demand that foreign travelers be vaccinated against COVID-19,” DeSantis said. vowed to permanently ban mandates related to coronavirus mitigation how he is considering the presidential candidacy, he said on Twitter.
“Mr. President, remove the restrictions and let him compete,” he added.
Republican Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida also called The President of the United States allowed Djokovic to play in the country.
“On the issue of vaccination requirements, I refer you to the CDC — those are the ones who deal with it,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.
According to her, the vaccination requirement “is still in place and we expect everyone to abide by the rules of our country, whether participants or spectators.”
US Open organizers said Friday they and the US Tennis Association are “hopeful” that Djokovic will grant his petition.
“Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a six-time Miami Open champion,” the Miami Open tweeted Friday.
“We hope that he will be allowed into the country so that Floridians have the opportunity to see him compete again.”
CNN has reached out to representatives for Djokovic and the US Department of Homeland Security for comment.
“Look, last year I missed Indian Wells, and Miami, and the entire US Open,” 22-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic. told reporters in Belgrade last month.
“So it won’t be the first time this happens. I mean, I hope it doesn’t, but that’s all I can do. All I can do is hope for the moment because, you know, my position remains the same. There is nothing I can do but wish for a positive outcome,” he said.
Djokovic returned to the first racket of the world. 1st when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to win a record 10th Australian Open in January.
It was his 22nd major title and tied him with Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam singles titles in men’s tennis history.
The main draw of the Miami Open starts on March 22, and the tournament itself will end. April 2