US Open release Djokovic statement after star stopped by government

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The US Open has released a new statement after Novak Djokovic was forced to pull out of the upcoming Miami Masters. The world No 1 had already missed Indian Wells after Homeland Security denied his vaccine waiver request and will now skip the Miami Open for the same reason. But the United States Tennis Association is “very hopeful” that he will be back in time for the US Open later this year when travel restrictions end.

Djokovic officially conceded to the American government on Friday and withdrew from the Miami Open. The world No 1 had applied for a “special permit” to enter the US unvaccinated for the first two Masters events of the year but had his request denied ahead of Indian Wells.

His coach Goran Ivanisevic recently claimed that the Serb hadn’t “given up” on the idea of playing in Miami if they could come to a solution in time but tournament director James Blake confirmed his withdrawal on Friday. And US Open organisers have now released a statement in the wake of the news, sharing their hope that Djokovic can return this summer.

“Policies concerning access to the United States are determined by the White House,” the USTA’s Chris Widmaier told to The Associated Press. “We are very hopeful that the policy preventing Novak Djokovic from entering the United States will be rescinded, or lapse, in the near future.” 

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With all remaining Covid restrictions expected to come to an end on May 11 in America, Widmaier said Djokovic would be welcome at the final Major of the year. He added: “No COVID-19 restrictions are in place at the U.S. Open for any player, fan or other attendee.

“Novak, one of our sport’s great champions, would be welcome to compete at the 2023 US Open.” It also means that Djokovic should be able to return to America for another Masters event after missing the first two of the year.

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If he wishes to do so, the world No 1 will be able to enter the country to play the Cincinnati Masters in the build-up to the US Open. The USTA statement comes as Miami Open tournament director James Blake also shared his hopes for Djokovic to return this summer.

“We hope that Novak will play again in Miami next year and we hope that he will play in all subsequent tournaments in America including Cincinnati and the US Open,” the retired pro said. “I love tennis, I love sports and I want to see the best tennis players competing in the biggest tournaments when they are healthy and able to play.”

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