Novak Djokovic: ‘Disgrace’ if Serbian tennis star not allowed to enter US and compete, says Haas
Indian Wells tournament director Tommy Haas said Novak Djokovic could end the year as the world’s top-ranked player but it would be “disrespectful” if he was not able to compete in the United States because of his non-eligible status. Because his chances are affected.
Djokovic missed last year’s Australian Open and was kicked out of the country for not being vaccinated against Covid.
His three-year visa ban was overturned in November and he is back in the Grand Slams seeking a 10th crown and 22nd major.
The Serbian, however, was not able to travel to New York for the 2022 US Open without proof of vaccination, which is why he was forced to skip ATP 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami earlier in the year.
U.S. officials said this month that the requirement for foreign air travelers to be vaccinated against Covid will remain in place until at least April 10, meaning Djokovic will again miss Indian Wells and Miami.
Haas, also a former world number two, said he hoped the rules would be relaxed soon to allow Djokovic to compete.
“If Djokovic stays healthy, I don’t see how he won’t be number one,” Haas told reporters at Melbourne Park on Monday.
“Obviously one problem is that he still can’t come to America if he doesn’t play Indian Wells and Miami in March (that would be difficult), so they have to lift those orders by mid-April.
“It will be good to see if we can pick them up a bit earlier and get them to play Indian Wells and Miami. I think he wants to play, so we should give him a chance. Hopefully we can keep him there.
“I mean, it would be a shame in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or wasn’t allowed to come.”
Haas said Indian Wells organizers would do “everything” to help Djokovic’s chances of playing there.
Indian Wells runs from March 8-19 and Miami Open from March 22-April 2.
The 35-year-old had earlier said that he would rather miss the Grand Slam than take the Covid vaccine.