The current fluid state of US entry rules for the non-COVID vaxxed may be just what Indian Wells organisers are dreaming of in hopes of slipping Novak Djokovic into next month’s first Masters 1000 of the season.
Under existing regulations which have been in place since 2020, the anti-vaxx world No. 1 would be forced to sit out the Indian Wells and Miami events due to his inability to cross a US border as a non-vaxxed foreign national.
But local media reports at TD Tommy Haas and his team are lobbying to allow the Serb into the country in light of hopes that the no-jab, no-entry rules will be rescinded by the government in May when restrictions are due to be relaxed on May 11.
The tennis suits are reportedly prodding to see if the 22-time Grand Slam winner can be granted a bit of extra leeway to allow him to make the March tennis date.
“Obviously the one problem being that he still cannot come to the US as they’re supposed to lift those mandates by mid-April,” former player Haas said.
“It would be nice to see if we could maybe lift those a little earlier and have him come to play Indian Wells and Miami.
“I think he wants to play, so we should give him the chance. Hopefully we can have him there. It would be a disgrace in my eyes if he wasn’t coming to these events, or not allowed to come.”
Djokovic got through the door into Australia last month after being deported a year before and less than a fortnight ago wrapped up a 10th title in Melbourne.
Unless the US law changes, he will miss the entire month of March – as he did in 2022 – as well as being unable last season to play the Canadian and Cincinnati Masters last August and the US Open to boot.
Djokovic has repeatedly said he will never take the COVID jab so as not to blemish his holistic, gluten-free lifestyle.
Haas is backed in his campaign by the USTA, which runs the US Open. If Djokovic cannot get a long-odds entry exemption, he will lose the No. 1 ranking he seized back after winning Melbourne 11 days ago.
Main photo:- Novak Djokovic winning Australian open last month by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd