Novak Djokovic finds support from Billie Jean King in his appeal to enter the United States to contest Indian Wells and Miami Open

Novak Djokovic and Billie Jean King
Novak Djokovic and Billie Jean King

Novak Djokovic received backing from tennis legend Billie Jean King and the US Open for his bid to be allowed entry into the United States despite his unvacinated status to participate in the Sunshine Double.

In February, Novak Djokovic applied to the US authorities for an exemption to the vaccination rule to be allowed into the country to participate at the Indian Wells and Miami Masters, and is still awaiting an official decision.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion was unable to participate in the 2022 US Open due to vaccine mandates. The Grand Slam tournament, however, has now spoken out in support of the Serb being allowed entry into the country to participate in the first two Masters 1000 events of the year in Indian Wells and Miami.

"Novak Djokovic is one 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," the US Open's Twitter handle posted.

American tennis legend Billie Jean King echoed the statement issued by the US Open and expressed her desire to see Novak Djokovic compete in the tournaments as well.

"Hope to see Novak play at Indian Wells and Miami," she wrote.

The Miami Open also issued a statement backing the World No. 1's entry into the country to participate in the competition -- which he missed last year due to the same vaccine mandate.

"Novak Djokovic is one of the greatest tennis players of all time and a six-time champion of the Miami Open. We hope he is allowed entry into the country so Floridians have the opportunity to see him compete once again," the Miami Open's social media team wrote.

Novak Djokovic intends to resume his season in Monte-Carlo if denied entry to the United States for the Sunshine Double

The World No. 1 at the Dubai Tennis Championships
The World No. 1 at the Dubai Tennis Championships

Following his win at the 2023 Australian Open, Novak Djokovic returned to the ATP Tour at the Dubai Tennis Championships. He extended his winning streak to 15-0 before falling to Daniil Medvedev in the semifinals of the tournament in straight sets.

During the post-match press conference, the World No. 1 announced his intention to resume his season at the Monte-Carlo Masters in April if he is not allowed entry into the USA for the Indian Wells and Miami Masters.

"I don't know what 'the rest' is. I'm still waiting for the news from America. If there's no America, I guess I'll play clay. Monte-Carlo is probably the next tournament," he said.

The Serb stated that if he is unable to compete in the upcoming hard court tournaments, he will take some time off and use it to prepare for the clay court season. He emphasized that clay courts require more preparation due to their demanding nature.

"If that's the case, I'll take some time off, I'll prepare. Clay, as we've said, is the most demanding surface. It takes time more than any other surface to prepare for," he added.

Novak Djokovic has won the Monte-Carlo Masters on two previous occasions, with his most recent win coming in 2015. In 2022, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina knocked the 22-time Grand Slam champion out in the second round of the tournament.

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Edited by Shyam Kamal
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