Tennis: Novak Djokovic requires COVID-19 vaccination to play US ATP tournaments in 2023

Novak Djokovic.
Novak Djokovic. Photo credit: Getty Images

Novak Djokovic will miss the Indian Wells and Miami Open ATP 1000 events this year if he remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, after United States authorities said non-nationals will need to have taken their shots to enter the country.

A statement from the Transportation Security Administration said the requirement for foreign air travellers to be fully vaccinated against the disease would be in place until April 10.

Indian Wells runs from March 6-19 and the Miami Open from March 20-April 2 and Djokovic risks missing the two important hardcourt tournaments if he does not take the vaccine.

The 35-year-old was unable to defend his Australian Open crown last year after being deported from that country on the eve of the hardcourt major due to his unvaccinated status.

Djokovic, who has won 21 Grand Slam titles, was also not able to travel to New York for the 2022 US Open without proof of vaccination, the same reason that had forced him to miss tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami.

The nine-time Australian Open champion is currently warming up for the 2023 season in Adelaide for the Australian Open, after his three-year travel ban for the country was waived in November.

That decision opened a path for him to target a 10th title at the Grand Slam and tie Rafael Nadal's mark of 22 majors.

Djokovic, who previously stated he would miss Grand Slams rather than have the COVID vaccine, said last week that he would never forget how it felt to be deported from Australia but hoped to move on from the incident.

"What happened 12 months ago wasn't easy to digest for some time but at the same time, I had to move on," Djokovic said last week in his first news conference since landing in Australia.