Novak Djokovic withdraws from BNP Paribas Open amid visa debacle



World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from this week’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the tournament announced on Sunday, after his visa application to enter the United States was unsuccessful.

Djokovic, who does not have an injection COVID-19said last month that he hoped for a “positive outcome” on being able to get special permission to play tournaments in the US, where international visitors are required to be vaccinated to gain entry.

Georgian player Nikolaj Basilashvili replaces Djokovic in the draw.

Speaking to reporters on Friday after his loss against Daniil Medvedev in Dubai, the Australian Open champion said he was “still waiting for news from America.”

He added: “If there’s no America, I guess I’ll play with clay. Monte Carlo is probably the next tournament. If so, I will take some time, I will prepare. ”

CNN reached out to Djokovic’s representatives for comment on the withdrawal from Indian Wells but did not receive a response.

The tournament will start from Monday and end on March 19.

Last week the US Open a tweet Djokovic is “one of the greatest champions our sport has ever seen,” adding that Grand Slam organizers were “hopeful” his petition to enter the country would be successful.

Djokovic started the year by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the Australian Open and equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles on the men’s all-time list.

He could surpass Nadal’s record at the French Open later this year, although the Spaniard will look to defend his title as he recovers from injury.

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