UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
At the time of writing, the USA is reportedly the only country where ATP tournaments are held that requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter. And with the Sunshine Swing kicking off next week, this means that as things stand, Novak Djokovic wouldn’t be allowed to compete in the Indian Wells Masters event. However, that’s not the concrete answer as to his participation in the first of these two 1000-level tournaments.
I say that for two reasons, which will be explained in greater detail when I run through things in the next section. But before I get to that, I should stress that the current restrictions mean that nobody who isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19 is permitted to enter the USA. With that said, the restrictions on this are expected to change on May 11th, meaning that Novak Djokovic should be able to compete in the 2023 US Open.
However, it obviously means that these restrictions won’t be lifted in time for the world number one to compete in Indian Wells. Yet as I’ve stressed above, this isn’t the official conclusion that we can reach regarding this. There are some lively discussions and events taking place behind the scenes that could change it all in an instant. Allow me to explain right now.
2023 Indian Wells – An Exemption Could Be Heading Djokovic’s Way
For those who don’t know, the Indian Wells 2023 event is set to begin on March 8th. That’s in just three days’ time (as I sit and write this post). Needless to say, Djokovic is having to cut things pretty fine due to a decision on his exemption hanging in the balance. However, he is on the confirmed entrant’s list, and according to the tournament director, Tommy Hass, Djokovic has explicitly stated that he’s keen to play.
So, what’s the hold-up, and what is actually occurring behind the scenes? Let me reveal what we know so far.
Djokovic Has Applied for Exemption With US Government
According to official reports, Novak Djokovic has filed for an exemption with the US government. This is something that we’ve become quite used to regarding Djokovic and his battle to try and get to the states in order to compete. With that said, no decision from the US government has yet been made. So really, Djokovic and the rest of us are just waiting to see whether he will get the green light to travel there or not.
USTA Applying Pressure on US Government
The governing body for tennis in the USA has also joined Djokovic’s corner when it comes to government appeals. Once again, the official reports state that the USTA has also got involved and formally made appeals to the US government to allow the Serbian to travel and compete. This is perhaps even more significant than the initial appeal from Novak Djokovic for the exemption.
I say this because if the USTA does help to get the exemption granted, he will be able to compete in both Indian Wells and Miami.
Expected Decision – Imminent
Here’s the big question – when will a decision be made on the exemption? Well, the latest is that a decision would be made over the weekend. So really, I expect to see an answer within the next 24 hours, or within the next 48 hours at the absolute latest.