Tennis

Novak Djokovic: ‘Disgrace’ if Serbian tennis star not allowed to enter US to compete, says Haas



Reuters

Novak Djokovic may end the year as the world’s top-ranked player but it would be a “disgrace” if his chances are affected by not being able to compete in the United States because of his unvaccinated status, Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas said.

Djokovic missed last year’s Australian Open and was deported from the country for being unvaccinated against COVID.

His three-year visa ban was overturned in November and he is back at the Grand Slam looking to win a 10th crown and 22nd major.

However, the Serbian was unable to travel to New York for the 2022 US Open without proof of vaccination, for the same reason that forced him to skip ATP 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami earlier this year.

US authorities said this month that the requirement for foreign air travelers to be vaccinated against COVID would be in place until at least April 10, meaning Djokovic will miss Indian Wells and Miami again.

Haas, also a former world number two, said he hoped the rules would be eased sooner to allow Djokovic to compete.

“If Djokovic stays healthy, I don’t see how he’s not going to be number one,” Haas told reporters at Melbourne Park on Monday.

“Obviously, the only problem is that he still can’t come to the US. If he doesn’t play Indian Wells and Miami in March (it will be difficult), they have to lift those mandates in mid-April.

“It would be nice to see if maybe we could lift them a little earlier and get him to come to play Indian Wells and Miami. I think he wants to play so we should give him the chance. Hopefully we can have that guy.

“I mean, it would be a disgrace in my eyes if he didn’t come to these events or wasn’t allowed to come.”

Haas added that Indian Wells organizers would do “everything” to help Djokovic’s chances of playing there.

Indian Wells runs from 8-19. March and the Miami Open from March 22-2. April.

The 35-year-old has previously stated that he would miss the Grand Slams instead of getting a COVID vaccine.

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