Novak Djokovic has won three Grand Slams in the United States throughout his legendary career, but after he was unable to play in 2022 due to his unvaccinated status, the top-ranked Serb is asking for special permission to play tournaments in the country in 2023.
Djokovic officially asked American authorities to enter the United States to play tennis tournaments in California and Florida despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19, according to The Associated Press.
“Everything is currently in the process,” Djokovic told AP from his training ground in Belgrade. “I have a big desire to be there. I am really thankful to the Indian Wells and Miami tournament [officials] and community for their support publicly, and they would like me to be able to play in their tournaments.”
“The Transportation Security Administration has said the requirement for foreign air travelers to be fully vaccinated against the disease would be in place at least until mid-April. The tournament in Indian Wells, California, will be played March 6-19 and the Miami Open is scheduled for March 20-April 2,” AP wrote on Thursday.
The 35-year-old is maybe the highest profile athlete who has not been vaccinated, which has caused him headaches over the past few years, including being deported from Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open last year.
Djokovic returned to Australia in 2023 and won his 22nd Grand Slam title, tying Rafael Nadal for the most in history after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets.
“I just feel that the rivalry with Nadal is something that is difficult to eliminate. Nadal has been the biggest rival, and he probably will remain the biggest rival I ever had in my career,” Djokovic told AP.
Novak Djokovic said the next tournament he will play in will be the Dubai Open next week, and there’s a very real chance he returns to the United States in 2023.