Djokovic makes last-ditch Indian Wells attempt for ‘special permit’

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Novak Djokovic has reportedly applied to enter the USA next month in his bid to play the Indian Wells Masters despite unvaccinated travellers being banned from the country until May. The world No 1 is still on the entry list for the first Masters 1000 of the year and his brother has now told Serbian media that he has applied for a “special permit” to enter the country and compete in the sunshine doubles tournaments.

Last month, Djokovic learned that he would still be banned from entering the USA during Indian Wells after Joe Biden’s government extended their emergency Covid restrictions to May 11, with all rules set to be scrapped after this date. While it means the world No 1 can finally play the US Open at the end of summer it leaves him stopped from competing in the ‘sunshine double’ of Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami.

The 22-time Major winner has made it no secret that he is hoping to play in the Californian desert, telling reporters in Adelaide last month: “You know my position, so it is what it is. I’m hoping (to play), but if I can’t go, I can’t go.” But it seems that the Serb is now hoping to find a way around the ban as his brother Djordje revealed that Djokovic applied for a “special permit” to enter the country.

“It is something that unfortunately is not in our hands,” the youngest Djokovic brother told Tanjung. “Novak has to get a special permit, considering that the USA still does not allow entry to unvaccinated people, which is simply incredible because the whole world is open and sports events around the world are held with vaccinated and unvaccinated athletes.”

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