Novak Djokovic has not been allowed to play tennis in the United States due to his refusal to be vaccinated against COVID-19, and after missing both Indian Wells and the Miami Open in 2023, he spoke out about his inability to compete.
“I have no regrets,” Djokovic said in an exclusive interview with CNN's Becky Anderson on Tuesday. “I’ve learned through life that regrets only hold you back and basically make you live in the past. And I don’t want to do that.”
The 35-year-old won the Australian Open in January, but despite asking for special permission to enter the United States, was refused entry into the country without a vaccine.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion ceded the World No. 1 title to teenager Carlos Alcaraz after the Spaniard won the BNP Paribas Open over the weekend. Djokovic has held the distinction longer than any other player on the ATP Tour.
“It’s a pity that I wasn’t able to play in Indian Wells [and] Miami. I love those tournaments,” he continued. “I had plenty of success there. But at the same time, it is the conscious decision I made and I knew that there is always a possibility that I won’t go. And it is the current state or current situation that I hope will change for later this year.”
For the Serbian superstar, Grand Slams are really all that matter at this stage in his career; he lost in the US Open final to Daniil Medvedev in 2021.
“I really want to be playing there,” Djokovic explained. “I actually had in 2021…one of the best moments I ever had with the New York crowd. And I’ve been fortunate to win that tournament three times.
And even though I lost that match, I received a lot of love and appreciation from people and I want to go back and I want to reconnect with the crowd there. So that’s something I’m looking forward to and hopefully it will happen.”
Novak Djokovic will next play tennis competitively in Monte Carlo in April as he prepares for the upcoming clay court season, and the French Open, in Europe.