Novak Djokovic pulled out of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Sunday night, tournament officials announced just hours before the tournament draw.
“World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the 2023 BNP Paribas Open. With his withdrawal, Nikoloz Basilashvili moves into the field,” tournament organizers said in a statement.
While a formal reason was not explained in that statement, Djokovic, who is currently unvaccinated against COVID-19, applied recently for special permission from the United States government to play at the ATP Masters upcoming events at both Indiana Wells and Miami. His decision to pull out of Indian Wells means that the application was denied by the U.S. government, according to the Associated Press.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., wrote as much on Twitter, claiming that Homeland Security had rejected Djokovic’s COVID-19.
Djokovic hasn’t competed in the ATP events at Indian Wells and Miami since 2019 as a result of being unvaccinated against COVID-19. On May 11, the United States is ending its COVID-19 emergency declaration, which will allow international residents to enter the country — even if they’re not vaccinated against the virus.
Djokovic currently has 22 Grand Slam titles and is coming off of winning the 2023 Australian Open, where he defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.