The Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated against COVID-19, announced Wednesday he would not compete in the Indian Wells Open or Miami Open due to a U.S. travel policy that requires non-citizens to be vaccinated and test negative before entering the country.
"While I was automatically listed in the @BNPPARIBASOPEN and @MiamiOpen draw I knew it would be unlikely I'd be able to travel," Djokovic posted to Twitter. "The CDC has confirmed that regulations won't be changing, so I won't be able to play in the US. Good luck to those playing in these great tournaments."
The decision by the 20-time Grand Slam winner comes after he told the BBC last month he would rather not play than be forced into getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
"I was never against vaccination," Djokovic, 34, told the network, confirming he had been vaccinated against other diseases as a child, "but I've always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body."
The BBC interview was in response to Djokovic's deportation from Australia in January, a day before the country's 2022 tennis tournament, after the government denied his challenge of his visa cancellation, according to CBS Sports.
"I am extremely disappointed with the Court ruling to dismiss my application for judicial review of the Minister's decision to cancel my visa, which means I cannot stay in Australia and participate in the Australian Open," Djokovic wrote in a media statement at the time.
Djokovic reiterated to the BBC in the February interview, Australia was a "tough" experience.
"It was very, very hard," he said. "While I was still at the airport, I couldn't use my phone for three, four hours. I was lost. Really, I didn't know what was happening."
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