West News Wire: Novak Djokovic won’t be competing in next week’s Miami Open because the Serbian was granted an exemption that would have enabled him to enter the country despite not having received a COVID-19 vaccination, according to James Blake, the director of the tournament.

International travelers still need to be immunized against COVID-19, but Djokovic had hoped to be given special permission to visit the country.

When the government stops its COVID-19 emergency announcements on May 11, the policy is anticipated to be lifted.

The tournament’s organizers claimed that they “explored all the alternatives” to get him a travel exemption. Also, the 22-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from the Indian Wells Open.

“We tried to get Novak Djokovic to be allowed to get an exemption, but that wasn’t able to happen,” Blake told the Tennis Channel on Friday.

“Obviously, we’re one of the premier tournaments in the world, we’d like to have the best players that can play. We did all that we could. We tried to talk to the government, but that’s out of our hands.”

Djokovic, who missed last year’s Australian Open after being deported from that country due to his vaccination status, has said he would skip Grand Slams rather than have a COVID shot.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the state’s two US senators were among those calling on the Biden administration to allow world number one Djokovic to enter the US and compete at the tournament he has won six times.

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