Confusion Abounds as Djokovic Appears on Indian Wells Line-Up Despite US Ban on Unvaxxed Stars

© REUTERS / SUHAIB SALEM Serbia's Novak Djokovic
 Serbia's Novak Djokovic - Sputnik International, 1920, 09.03.2022
In January, Novak Djokovic was deported from Australia because of his unvaccinated status. He was evicted by the country's Immigration minister, Alex Hawke, who declared Djokovic's visa invalid after a court battle which lasted nearly two weeks.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner, Novak Djokovic, has been named in the draw for this week's prestigious Indian Wells Masters. But his inclusion in the Californian event has caused utter confusion, considering unvaccinated foreign nationals are not allowed in the US - at least not yet.
The reigning French Open and Wimbledon champion has been given a bye in the first round and will take on the winner of the match between David Goffin and Jordan Thompson in the second round of the tournament if the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) permits him to compete.
If Djokovic is permitted to compete in the Open which runs until 20 March, many will be surprised since both the tournament and the host nation have been absolutely clear that they have a strict policy against individuals who haven't taken a jab.
However, the tournament's authorities have defended themselves by declaring that he has only been named in the draw and his participation is subject to the relevant clearances from concerned authorities.

"Novak Djokovic is on the tournament entry list, and therefore is placed into the draw today," a statement from the tournament organisers said. "We are in communication with his team; however, it has not been determined whether he will participate in the event by getting CDC approval to enter the country. We will provide updates in the future as we learn more."

Djokovic is widely regarded as the most famous anti-vaxxer in the world after refusing to get jabbed several times in the past.
Last month, in a wide-ranging interview with the BBC, the 34-year-old tennis star said that he wasn't opposed to vaccination per se, but as an individual he should be allowed to choose what is injected into his body.
Djokovic's stance over vaccination has already cost him dear in 2022.
In his absence from the Australian Open, it was Rafael Nadal who became the first man to claim 21 Grand Slam titles in tennis after the Spaniard trumped Russian Daniil Medvedev in the final, leaving the Serb stranded on 20 titles.
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