Novak Djokovic, who was deported from Australia over his COVID-19 vaccination status ahead of the Australian Open, is on the entry list for next month’s Indian Wells ATP event in California, tournament organisers say.
The 34-year-old Serb, who was unvaccinated, was deported after an 11-day rollercoaster involving two visa cancellations, two court challenges and five nights in two stints at an immigration detention hotel.
World No.1 Djokovic has won Indian Wells five times and was part of a stacked field announced on Wednesday. It also features 2022 Australian Open winner Rafael Nadal and top 10 players Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Tournament organisers said in a statement that valid proof of full vaccination would be required for entry into the venue. The Indian Wells tournament runs from March 9-20.
“The guidelines for the players are governed by the protocols established by … the WTA and ATP, as well as any restrictions established by the United States of America in regard to the vaccination status of international travellers entering the country,” organisers added.
If still unvaccinated, Djokovic could have trouble even getting into the US, because foreign air travellers have had to be fully vaccinated since November last year and provide proof before boarding flights, with limited exceptions.
He is scheduled to return to action at the ATP 500 Dubai Tennis Championships, from February 21-26.
Daniel Muksch, Djokovic’s biographer, recently said he had heard from Djokovic’s inner circle that he would likely get vaccinated and may be motivated to do so by seeing Nadal go past him by wining a 21st grand slam title at the Australian Open.