Djokovic included on Indian Wells entry list despite COVID-19 vaccination requirement

By Sports Desk February 09, 2022

Novak Djokovic has been included on the entry list for next month's Indian Wells Open despite the tournament requiring all players are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last month, the world number one and 20-time grand slam winner was deported from Australia on the eve of the Australian Open after his entry visa to the country was cancelled due to him not being vaccinated against coronavirus.

Djokovic believed he was still eligible to enter the country and compete after testing positive for coronavirus in December and making a full recovery.

The Serbian was subsequently sent home as he lost the legal battle that dominated much of the sports news agenda during the early weeks of 2022.

Djokovic is set to make his return to the court at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships later this month, with vaccination not a requirement.

But it is at Indian Wells, where the five-time champion has been announced as a competitor, prompting curiosity about whether more legal battles await or if Djokovic has since been jabbed.

An Indian Wells statement read: "With health and safety as the tournament's top priority, the BNP Paribas Open will require valid proof of full vaccination to enter the Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the tournament.

"For the second consecutive year, the BNP Paribas Open has partnered with CLEAR, the secure identity company, to facilitate the implementation of the venue's mandatory vaccination policy ahead of the 2022 tournament.

"The guidelines for the players are governed by the protocols established by their respective governing bodies, the WTA and ATP, as well as any restrictions established by the United States of America in regard to the vaccination status of international travellers entering the country."

Images of Djokovic do not appear any of the tournament's build-up social media posts nor the website's promotional announcement, while his entry-list inclusion is little more than a footnote – but, crucially, it does include him.

The statement continued: "A power-packed line-up of ATP top-10 players will join [Rafael] Nadal in looking to put together a breakthrough performance in Tennis paradise.

"2021 US Open champion and 2022 Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev (world no. 2), 2021 ATP Finals winner Alexander Zverev (world no. 3), and 2021 French Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas (world no. 4) will each be in search of their maiden title in the desert.

"Reigning BNP Paribas Open champion Cameron Norrie (world no. 13) will look to replicate his extraordinary 2021 title run, in which he won his first Masters 1000 crown.

"World no. 1 and five-time Indian Wells champion Novak Djokovic is also on the tournament entry list."

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