(CNN) — The world’s top men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic will miss the Miami Open next week, after being denied entry to the United States because he is unvaccinated against Covid-19, tournament director James Blake announced on Friday.
The United States still requires international visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Serbian, who has previously confirmed that he remains unvaccinated, had applied for special permission to enter the country ahead of the tournament.
“We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to get an exemption, but that wasn’t able to happen,” Blake said in an interview with the Tennis Channel.
“Obviously, we’re one of the premier tournaments in the world, we’d like to have the best players that can play. We did all that we could. We tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said earlier this month he would “run a boat from the Bahamas” for Djokovic to compete in the Miami Open tennis tournament.
DeSantis called on US President Joe Biden to drop the vaccine requirement for international travelers so the 22-time grand slam champion would be able to compete.
The 35-year-old Djokovic has missed several other tournaments because of his vaccination status. Earlier this month, Djokovic withdrew from the ongoing BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California due to being denied the exemption. Last year, he missed Indian Wells, the Miami Open and all the tournaments included in the US Open swing.
The Miami Open’s main draw play starts March 22 and and the tournament ends April 2.
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