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World number one, Novak Djokovic, was forced to miss the Indian Wells event in 2023 due to his COVID-19 vaccination status. Of course, the Serbian’s stance on the vaccine and his troubles concerning competing on the tour have been well documented. However, as we are now in March 2023, it’s almost crazy to think that he is still having issues because of this. But that’s exactly what Djokovic is enduring with regard to the two Masters 1000 events held in the USA each March.
Popularly dubbed as the ‘Sunshine Double’, Novak Djokovic has already missed Indian Wells, and it’s looking like he could be absent from the 2023 Miami Open too. While there isn’t a 100% confirmation yet from Djokovic or the tournament organizers, it’s not exactly looking too good for the moment. Having failed to receive an exemption for Indian Wells (allegedly), one would assume that it is highly unlikely that he will receive one for Miami – especially since this tournament is right after Indian Wells.
So taking this into account, what is the most logical answer to this question at the moment? Let me run through the main pointers now.
Djokovic 2023 Miami Open – He Will Be Absent
Please note that this answer is not yet definitive. I’ve simply looked at the current state of play regarding his possible participation in order to produce the ‘most likely’ answer. Therefore, let me share what I’ve found on the subject to justify this answer.
Vaccination Rules Still in Effect in USA
This is actually the main reason that Novak Djokovic was not able to compete in the first of these two Masters 1000 events in 2023. Given that he is unvaccinated, the US government won’t allow him to enter the country, even if he was simply entering the country to compete in a tournament. But interestingly, there are some other unvaccinated players who are competing in the event through one loophole or another.
And for those who haven’t read through the most recent government updates on this, the rules concerning COVID-19 vaccinations will remain in play until May 2023.
No Exemption for 2023 Indian Wells
Given that the vaccination rules are still enforced in the USA, many believe that this was the reason for Djokovic withdrawing from Indian Wells. With that said, no public statement was made from Djokovic or the Indian Wells tournament organizers saying that he had applied for an exemption and been refused. So to say that would still be somewhat speculative, even if many believe that this is the case.
Furthermore, since the Miami Open is directly after Indian Wells, it’s unlikely for anything to change for Djokovic as far as this dilemma goes.
Zero Points to Defend
We all remember the drama surrounding Novak Djokovic and the 2022 Australian Open. However, Djokovic was willing to try everything at that time because the Australian Open is a Grand Slam. On top of that, he had points to defend, while the obvious GOAT debate must have been a factor in his decision too. Yet for the 2023 Miami Open, he has no points to defend, and therefore he won’t slide too far down the rankings if he doesn’t play.