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Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic can’t travel to U.S., out of Miami Open

2022 French Open - Day Four

PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 25: Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand shot against Alex Molcan of Slovakia in their second round match during day four of the 2022 French Open at Roland Garros on May 25, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tnani Badreddine/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - Novak Djokovic withdrew from Miami Open again because he still can’t travel to the United States as a foreign citizen who is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic is out of the field for the event that begins next week, a tournament spokesman said. The 35-year-old from Serbia won that event six times, most recently in 2016.

Djokovic is No. 1 in the ATP rankings and is tied with Rafael Nadal - who is injured and also won’t be in Miami - at 22 Grand Slam titles, the record for most won by a man. In 2023, Djokovic is 15-1 with two titles, including at the Australian Open in January.

But he will now have missed the first two Masters 1000 events of the season. He pulled out of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, which ends this weekend, because he couldn’t get into the U.S. without having received any shots for the illness caused by the coronavirus.

In 2022, Djokovic also missed the trips to Indian Wells, Miami and the U.S. Open.

Back in in April 2020, as the pandemic raged, Djokovic said he was opposed to needing to be vaccinated to travel. He later said he would not get inoculated even if it meant missing tournaments.

In January 2022, he tried to get an exemption to compete at the Australian Open and traveled to Melbourne. But after his case went to court, his visa was revoked and Djokovic was deported from the country.

Pandemic restrictions have been eased in Australia since, and Djokovic returned this year without a problem and won the season’s first major championship.

Meanwhile, Nadal has been sidelined since hurting his left hip flexor during a second-round loss at Melbourne Park. He is aiming to return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters next month.