Novak Djokovic: ‘Shame’ if Serbian tennis star not allowed to enter US and compete, says Haas
Novak Djokovic could end the year as the highest-ranked player in the world, but it would be “a shame” if his chances were affected by not being able to compete in the United States due to his unvaccinated status, has said Indian Wells Tournament Director Tommy Haas.
Djokovic missed last year’s Australian Open and was kicked out of the country as he was not vaccinated against COVID.
His three-year visa ban was overturned in November and he is back at the Grand Slam in hopes of winning a 10th crown and a 22nd Major.
The Serb, however, was unable to travel to New York for the 2022 US Open without proof of vaccination, the same reason that forced him to skip the ATP 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami earlier in the year.
US authorities said this month that the requirement for foreign air travelers to be vaccinated against COVID would be in place until at least April 10, meaning Djokovic will again miss Indian Wells and Miami.
Haas, also a former world number two, said he hoped the rules would be relaxed sooner to allow Djokovic to compete.
“If Djokovic stays healthy, I don’t see how he’s not going to be number one,” Haas told reporters at Melbourne Park on Monday.
“Obviously the only problem being that he still can’t come to the United States. If he doesn’t play Indian Wells and Miami in March (it will be difficult) they are supposed to lift those mandates by mid -april.
“It would be nice to see if we can maybe lift them a little earlier and get him to come and play against Indian Wells and Miami. I think he wants to play, so we should give him a chance. I hope we can have it there.
“I mean, it would be a shame in my eyes if he didn’t come to these events, or if he wasn’t allowed to come.”
Haas added that Indian Wells organizers would do “everything” to help Djokovic play there.
Indian Wells runs from March 8-19 and the Miami Open from March 22-April 2.
The 35-year-old previously said he would miss the Grand Slam rather than have a COVID vaccine.