Novak Djokovic backed by ex-rival as he aims dig at US officials

Novak Djokovic jokes about his age at the Australian Open

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American tennis star John Isner has shown his support to Novak Djokovic after reports emerged that the world No 1 had been denied his request to enter the US. The saga surrounding his Covid vaccination status has continued ahead of the Indian Wells Masters and Miami Open.

Djokovic remains unvaccinated against Covid, and missed out on major events last year – including the Australian and US Opens. And his interrupted schedule looks set to continue in the US, having also missed Indian Wells and the Miami Open last year.

The Serbian’s brother Djordje told the country’s media that he had applied for a “special permit” to enter the US and compete this year – which Djokovic then later confirmed in a press conference last week.

However, Djokovic’s hopes look to have taken a big blow as according to Florida’s State Senator, Homeland Security has now denied the tennis icon’s request.

“BREAKING: We have been told that @DHSgov just denied @DjokerNole’s vaccine waiver request, making him ineligible to compete in the US next week in CA & in the @MiamiOpen,” Rick Scott tweeted.

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The US government currently prohibits unvaccinated visitors coming into the country until May 11. But Isner, Djokovic’s former rival, has taken aim at those high up with a sarcastic social media post.

The 37-year-old wrote on Twitter: “Don’t worry guys, on May 11th he will be deemed safe enough to enter the USA. Until then, he’s far too dangerous. Do not question the science, our government has been spot on with all things Covid since the onset.”

While he has the support of Isner, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the US Open have made it clear they want Djokovic to be able to compete in the country this year.

A statement from the US Open read: “Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest champions our sport has ever seen.

“The USTA and US Open are hopeful that Novak is successful in his petition to enter the country, and that the fans will be able to see him back in action at Indian Wells and Miami.”

While his US schedule remains unclear, Djokovic did recently confirm that he would begin the clay season at the Monte Carlos Masters before competing in the Banja Luka Open.

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