Tennis superstar Novak Djokovic on Sunday pulled out of the Indian Wells tournament due to vaccine travel mandates, prompting American lawmakers to ask President Joe Biden to intervene on his behalf.
Djokovic withdrew from Indian Wells after his request for a waiver to enter the United States as a person unvaccinated against COVID-19 was allegedly rejected by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The tennis legend took himself out of the running for the tournament Sunday night, according to Yahoo News.
Indian Wells serves as the first stop of the Sunshine Double, with the Miami Open closing out the 4-week run. Djokovic has not removed his name from the Miami Open yet, which runs from March 19 to April 2 at Hard Rock Stadium.
Republican Florida Sens. Rick Scott and Marco Rubio called on the Biden administration to intervene so that Djokovic could be allowed to play.
15 Days To Slow The Spread started three years ago and we still are denying people the right to legally enter our country because they’re unvaccinated?
Give me a break. https://t.co/vQhyUpgLhU
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) March 5, 2023
Scott highlighted the inconsistency in Biden announcing that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but still denying Djokovic the opportunity to play in America. The duo also wrote a letter to Biden urging him to let Djokovic play, citing that he poses no danger to the public and that his absence from the tournament would hurt the state economically.
“Mr. Djokovic is a world-class athlete in peak physical condition who is not at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19,” the letter reads. “It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.”
“The lack of public health risk, along with the clear benefit of his participation in an event that will be a major driver of our local economies should make the decision before you simple and serve as a precedent for others in his position,” the letter continues, “while hopefully leading to the full reversal of this mandate for other foreign visitors who wish to legally travel to our great nation.”