The world's top-ranked player Novak Djokovic won't play at the upcoming BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells after losing his bid to enter the U.S. unvaccinated to play in the Southern California event.
Organizers at Roland-Garros said Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic should be allowed to compete at the French Open thanks to loosened COVID rules in France.
The Serbian tennis star says he understands he may miss the French Open and Wimbledon as a result. He adds that his decision is personal and he shouldn't be lumped in with anti-vaccination activists.
A handful of fans waving the Serbian flag greeted Djokovic at the airport.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said he canceled Djokovic's visa on "health and good order grounds, on the basis that it was in the public interest to do so."
The prime ministers of Australia and Serbia talked by phone about the tennis star's visa as he is seeded No. 1 in Australian Open.
The tennis star, who sought a COVID-19 vaccine exemption to play in the tournament, could face deportation again. The battle has sparked protests in the widely vaccinated country.
If he fails to have his visa cancellation overturned and gets deported, Novak Djokovic risks missing more than one Australian Open and could be barred for up to three years.
Serbia's Djokovic loses to Spain's Pablo Carreño Busta, ending his chances of winning a bronze in Tokyo. "I gave it all, whatever I had left in the tank, which was not so much," Djokovic says.
The Serbian star was beaten in the men's tennis semifinal by Germany's Alexander Zverev. It means Djokovic can't make history by winning all four major tournaments and Olympic gold in a single year.
The Serbian tennis star is aiming for a "golden slam" — meaning winning all four major tournaments and an Olympic gold medal in a single year. No male tennis player has ever done it.
Djokovic, the world's No. 1-ranked men's tennis player, has previously voiced concerns about the possibility of restrictions at future tennis events due to the coronavirus.