Unvaccinated Djokovic wouldn’t have ‘threatened’ rival in Indian Wells

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Casper Ruud has claimed he wouldn’t have been “threatened” if Novak Djokovic was allowed to play Indian Wells without being vaccinated. The world No 1 was left unable to compete when his vaccine waiver request was denied – a decision the world No 4 has now branded “childish”.

Djokovic is currently absent from the first Masters 1000 of the season after he was denied entry into the US while the vaccine is still required for foreign nationals. The decision not to let him into the country caused some controversy, with multiple American politicians calling on Joe Biden to reverse his decision.

And one of the world No 1’s rivals has now defended him, saying it was “silly” not to let Djokovic come and compete when the vaccine entry requirement is set to be dropped soon, on May 11. Speaking on his Eurosport podcast, Ruud said he didn’t see Djokovic as a health threat despite being unvaccinated.

“Yeah, I mean, it’s not up to me to say whether it’s fair or not,” the Norwegian started. “I think the rule is silly if he’s not a threat to the community at all at this stage whether or not he’s vaccinated, so that’s something that I can say.”

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The two-time Grand Slam finalist continued to criticise the decision, adding: “It’s a bit sort of childish because the rule changes in a couple of weeks so they couldn’t might as well change it already.” Ruud also said he thought the government would have tried everything possible to allow Djokovic into the country given his standing.

“But rules are rules and I’m sure they have tried everything that they can. With the context that Novak has, I’m sure that everything has been tried, and it hasn’t been possible,” he said. But the world No 4 still continued to criticise the decision, doubling-down on his claim that Djokovic wouldn’t have posed a threat just because he wasn’t jabbed.

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“In general, the country has sort of banned unvaccinated until in around a month, I think they will open the ban or something so it is a bit silly if you ask me but it’s fair or not, I don’t know. Like I said, I wouldn’t have felt threatened by Novak if he was here and he was unvaccinated,” Ruud added.

It remains to be seen whether there is any change on the decision that would allow Djokovic to play in Miami but the tournament begins in three days with men’s singles action starting on March 24, meaning time is running out. The world No 1’s next event will most likely be the Monte Carlo Masters, kicking off on April 8.

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