The tennis world has been left puzzled after Novak Djokovic was included in the Indian Wells draw in the US, despite confusion over whether he is eligible to play due to strict vaccination rules.
Djokovic was initially allowed entry into Australia for the season-opening grand slam in January, before having his visa cancelled due to his anti-vaccination stance.
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In an extraordinary interview, Djokovic admitted he wouldn't get vaccinated in order to play tournaments.
This left his tennis future in limbo due to the heavy restrictions on vaccinations in many countries around the world.
And the vaccination saga has continued as Indian Wells officials are seeking answers to whether the World No.2 can participate after he was included in the draw.
The Californian tournament, one of the biggest ATP 1000 events, starts on Friday and Djokovic has been included in the draw.
However, officials aren't even sure if he can play because all non-US citizens must be vaccinated to enter the country.
"Novak Djokovic is on the tournament entry list, and therefore is placed into the draw today. We are currently in communication with his team; however, it has not been determined if he will participate in the event by getting CDC approval to enter the country," a statement read.
Bizarre Novak Djokovic entry photo at Indian Wells
In the lead up to the draw, fans noticed a photo of Djokovic had been included on the wall of stars not playing in the tournament.
Djokovic was standing next to a sign, which read: "We miss you".
Funnily enough, he was next to WTA World No.1 Ash Barty, who only pulled out of the tournament last week as she continues her recovery.
The tennis world was quick to blast the debacle, which could have been avoided in the lead up to the tournament.
Update from the Indian Wells “We Miss You” wall:
Andreescu has been added; Djokovic has not been subtracted; man misses Ash Barty. pic.twitter.com/krLVeeXshB
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) March 9, 2022
I blame the ATP here more than anything.
They’ve had ages to contact Djokovic & find out the situation.
Instead it’s clear they haven’t done anything and now the Indian Wells event itself has taken it into their own hands to contact him after the draw has been made.
— Jason (@Certinfy) March 8, 2022
Not again i thought we were done talking about #Djokovic every tournament 🙄 & he accepts he cant play certain ones. Lets not let this be Part 2 of Australian Open pls...😂 #IndianWells just make a decision & put in the rules & stick to it. Sigh 🤨 https://t.co/u5L8BW9n7i
— Bonnie Looi (@tennisprincess2) March 9, 2022
While Djokovic may have lost a sponsor in Peugeot since the Australian open debacle, he received some good news about Roland Garros.
Following the Australian Open, it appeared Djokovic may not play a grand slam this year.
However, it appears Djokovic might be given a better chance to chase down Rafa Nadal's record 21 grand slam record this year.
The French sports minister initially announced all athletes would need to be vaccinated to compete on French soil, casing Djokovic's Roland Garros title defence in doubt.
But, with the latest Covid-19 numbers subsiding, Prime Minister Jean Castex said the current restrictions will end on March 14.
This could see Djokovic compete at Roland Garros and he should be able to play Monte Carlo Masters on April 10.
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