The Perfect Enemy | Novak Djokovic withdraws from BNP Paribas Open after being denied entry to US over COVID-vaccine status - Fox News
February 24, 2024

Novak Djokovic withdraws from BNP Paribas Open after being denied entry to US over COVID-vaccine status – Fox News

Novak Djokovic withdraws from BNP Paribas Open after being denied entry to US over COVID-vaccine status  Fox NewsView Full Coverage on Google News

Novak Djokovic will not participate in the BNP Paribas Open this month after the Biden administration denied his entry to the United States, due to him being unvaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic, 35, requested a vaccine waiver, which would have allowed him to enter the U.S. unvaccinated, but it was rejected by the Homeland Security Department.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion subsequently withdrew from the combined ATP-WTA event, which begins Wednesday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California.

The event includes matches in both California and Miami, Florida. It runs through March 19.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC ASKS PERMISSION TO ENTER US FOR TOURNAMENTS DUE TO VACCINE STATUS: ‘NOT IN MY HANDS’

Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Daniil Medvedev during their semi-final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, March 2, 2023. 

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic returns the ball to Daniil Medvedev during their semi-final match of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Friday, March 2, 2023.  (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Djokovic, who is from Serbia, is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals.

In Djokovic’s latest professional appearance, he lost in the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships to Russia’s Daniil Medvedev, 27. 

Medvedev went on to defeat fellow Russian Andrey Rublev, 25, in the finals.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Daniil Medvedev after being defeated by him during day thirteen of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 03, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia shakes hands with Daniil Medvedev after being defeated by him during day thirteen of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 03, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)

FLORIDA LAWMAKERS URGE PRESIDENT BIDEN TO GRANT NOVAK DJOKOVIC WAIVER TO PLAY IN US DESPITE VACCINE STATUS

Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, both Republicans from Florida, expressed support for the Serbian tennis star and called on Congress to act to eliminate President Biden’s “bogus vaccine mandate.”

“It has come to our attention that your administration is in receipt of a request to waive the current vaccine mandate for international travelers entering the United States from top-ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic. We write to urge you to grant the requested waiver, which is necessary to allow Mr. Djokovic to compete in the Miami Open professional tennis tournament held in our home state of Florida beginning March 19, 2023,” the Republicans said in a joint letter.

Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates his victory at the end of men's single quarter final match of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 03, 2023. 

Daniil Medvedev of Russia celebrates his victory at the end of men’s single quarter final match of Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 03, 2023.  (Waleed Zein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In the letter, the Florida lawmakers even reminded Biden that he previously said the pandemic was “over.”

“In September 2022, you plainly declared to a national audience on 60 Minutes that ‘the [COVID-19] pandemic is over,’ and, earlier this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci published a professional article acknowledging the limited efficacy of vaccines in protecting against respiratory pathogens, like the novel coronavirus,” the senators continued. “In light of these changing circumstances, and admissions by you and members of your own administration, the current restrictive vaccine mandate which you have maintained for international travelers entering the United States seems outdated and worthy of rescission.”

CLICK HERE FOR MORE SPORTS COVERAGE ON FOXNEWS.COM

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after defeat by Daniil Medvedev during day thirteen of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 03, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. 

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts after defeat by Daniil Medvedev during day thirteen of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on March 03, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.  (Amin Mohammad Jamali/Getty Images)

They added: “Mr. Djokovic is a world-class athlete in peak physical condition who is not at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19. It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.”

COVID-19 emergency declarations in the U.S. are set to expire in May.

Djokovic did not compete in the U.S. Open last year due to his COVID-vaccine status and has been public about his decision not to get the vaccine.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Georgian tennis player Nikoloz Basilashvili moved into the Indian Wells draw following Djokovic’s withdrawal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report