Djokovic withdraws after failed bid to play Indian Wells


INDIAN WELLS, California—Top-ranked Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the upcoming BNP Paribas Open, having lost his bid to enter the United States unvaccinated to play in the Southern California event.

The tournament announced his withdrawal on Sunday night. Play in the combined Association of Tennis Professionals-Women’s Tennis Association event begins Wednesday at Indian Wells Tennis Garden and runs through March 19.

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said on Twitter that Homeland Security had rejected Djokovic’s vaccine waiver request, which would have allowed him to play back-to-back at Indian Wells and Miami, which runs March 19-April 2.

The US is ending its COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 11, which will allow foreign air travelers to enter the county without being vaccinated.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion lost in the semifinals of the Dubai Tennis Championships on Friday.

With Djokovic out, Nikoloz Basilashvili moved into the Indian Wells draw.

Daniil Medvedev, meanwhile, won his 18th tour-level title and third in a row by beating Andrey Rublev, 6-2, 6-2, in an all-Russian final at the Dubai Championships on Saturday in the United Arab Emirates.

The former No. 1 extended his winning streak to 14 matches in a run that started on Valentine’s Day and included back-to-back trophies in Rotterdam and Doha.

Medvedev, on the second longest winning streak of his career, broke Rublev twice in each set and won the last five games on the hard court.

Rublev was the defending champion but quickly fell behind as he couldn’t hold his serve in the opening game.

“It’s amazing because the start of the year was not perfect,” Medvedev said on court after defeating his good friend. “So I was doubting a lot, and now it just feels better.”

Medvedev gave top-ranked Djokovic his first defeat of the year in the semifinals.

The 2021 US Open champion defeated Andy Murray to win the Qatar Open last week after rallying past Jannik Sinner in the final of the Rotterdam Open.

Image credits: AP

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