Novak Djokovic: Ron DeAntis will run a boat from the Bahamas to allow the world number one into the US to play the Miami Open

(CNN) He would have run out of time to let Novak Djokovic into the US to play Indian Wells, but US politicians – particularly the Florida governor. Ron DeSantis – They are pushing to change the regulations and allow the world No. 1 to enter the country in time for the Miami Open.

The United States still requires international visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19, and the Serb, who previously said he remains unvaccinated, confirmed he had applied for special permission to enter the country ahead of both tournaments.

However, the organizers of Indian Wells announce On Sunday, Djokovic withdrew from the tournament as the main draw match began on Wednesday.

DeSantis said he will run a boat from the Bahamas to take Djokovic into the Miami Open later this month.

“I’m going to run a boat from the Bahamas here for him. I’m going to do it 100 percent,” DeSantis said at a news conference in Tampa on Wednesday.

“I think his people look at him, and I’m not sure that’s the way they want to come to the country, which I understand. I think it’s going to be a great moment, but you know, with that.”

According to the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proof of Covid-19 vaccination is required for non-US citizens and non-immigrant passengers arriving from a foreign country into the US by air, although this applies to other forms of travel.

On Tuesday, DeSantis called on US President Joe Biden to step in and allow Djokovic to compete in the tournament.

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“The only thing keeping Novak Djokovic from participating in the Miami Open is President Biden’s misleading and unscientific requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations for foreign travelers,” DeSantis said, separately. He pledged to permanently ban mandates related to coronavirus mitigation he said on Twitter as he contemplated a presidential bid.

“Mr. President – take off your chains and let him compete,” he added.

Novak Djokovic, Australian Open champion, poses with the trophy.

Republican Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio of Florida as urged US President to allow Djokovic to enter the country to play.

“In terms of vaccination requirements, I refer you to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – they’re the ones who handle that,” White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said Wednesday.

She said the vaccine requirement “is still valid, and we expect everyone to abide by the rules of our country, whether it is a participant or a spectator.”

US Open organizers said on Friday that they and the US Tennis Association are “hopeful” that Djokovic will succeed in his appeal.

“Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a six-time Miami Open champion,” the Miami Open said on Twitter on Friday.

“We hope he will be allowed into the country so that the people of Florida will have a chance to see him compete again.”

CNN has reached out to representatives for Djokovic and the US Department of Homeland Security for comment.

“Look, last year I missed Indian Wells and Miami and all the US Open matches,” 22-time Grand Slam winner Djokovic said. to reporters in Belgrade last month.

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“So it wouldn’t be the first time if that happened. I mean, I hope it doesn’t happen, but that’s all I can do. All I can do is hope for now, because my attitude remains the same. There’s not much I can do but The desire to obtain a positive result.

Djokovic returned to world number one when he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas to win his 10th Australian Open in January.

It was his 22nd Grand Slam title which tied him with Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles in men’s tennis history.

Main draw play for the Miami Open begins on March 22nd and the tournament kicks off April 2.

Betsy Cline and Kate Maher contributed reporting

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