It has been a running debate for several weeks, but now it has been confirmed that Novak Djokovic will not be playing at the Miami Open, which starts next week.
World number one Djokovic has not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and only international visitors are currently allowed to enter the United States.
Those bans expire in April, and the Serbian was hoping to get a special permit to play in the US this month at Indian Wells and the Miami Open at the BNP Paribas Open.
Unable to maintain that time, he had to withdraw from the previous one, and Blake has now confirmed that Djokovic has failed in his bid to compete in the Miami tournament.
In an interview with Tennis Channel, tournament director James Blake said: “Obviously, we’re one of the premier tournaments in the world, and we want to have the best players that can play.
“We’ve done everything we can. We’ve tried to talk to the government, but it’s out of our hands. We’ve tried and it’s not playing out.
“The same result he got in Indian Wells, I know (tournament director) Tommy Haas did his best. We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to go free, but that didn’t happen.
“We’d love to have him, and he’s our great champion, he’s won here six times. Unfortunately, this is beyond my pay grade.”
Several prominent US politicians, including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, have publicly pleaded for Djokovic to be allowed into the country.
However, the US government has shown no interest in freeing the Serbian after requesting his entry despite his vaccination status.
Djokovic’s vociferous army of supporters on social media have reacted angrily to this latest development, but it comes as a result of the world No 1’s decision to refuse the Covid vaccine amid the outbreak.
The good news for Djokovic is that the Miami Open will likely be the last tournament he misses because of the issue, with US officials set to raise their vaccination requirements for foreign visitors in May.
Djokovic’s rejection of vaccination cost him six major tournaments last season, including the Australian Open and the US Open.
With the vaccine against Covid-19 not yet available in Australia, he competed at this year’s Australian Open in January and won his 22nd Grand Slam singles title.
The 35-year-old, who suffered his first loss of the season to Daniil Medvedev in the ATP semi-finals in Dubai last week, is set to return to action at the Monte Carlo Masters on April 9.
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