Novak Djokovic, the world's top-ranked tennis player, has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, signaling that his application for a COVID-19 vaccine waiver to enter the United States has been rejected. As a result, Djokovic's status for the Miami Open later this month is also in doubt.

“World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the 2023 BNP Paribas Open. With his withdrawal, Nikoloz Basilashvili moves into the field,” tournament organizers said in a statement on Twitter.

This marks the latest chapter in Djokovic's transformation from merely a tennis star into a martyr for overeager Youtube conspiracy theorists. Famously, the unvaccinated Djokovic sat out the Australian Open and US Open in 2022 after being refused entry to both countries due to his refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We have been told that [the Department of Homeland Security] just declined [Novak Djokovic's] vaccine waiver request,” Florida senator Rick Scott tweeted on Friday, “making him ineligible to compete in the US next week in CA & in the Miami Open.”

Scott and fellow Senator Marco Rubio also voiced their support for Djokovic in a letter to President Joe Biden.

Thankfully, the ongoing Djokovic vaccine saga should be over soon. On May 11th, the US will be ending its COVID emergency declaration, which will end the vaccine requirement for foreign air travelers.

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells will run from March 9th to March 19th and the Miami Open begins almost immediately afterwards on March 19th as well. The two competitions are considered some of the premier non-Grand Slam tournaments on the tennis calendar. Even without Djokovic, eight of the top ten players in the world are slated to participate in the events, which should make them extremely exciting to follow.