Despite the vaccine status, Djokovic sought special permission to enter the US. Novak Djokovik

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Novak Djokovic has asked US authorities for special permission to enter the United States to play tennis tournaments in California and Florida, while the world No. 1 said on Wednesday.

The Transportation Security Administration has said that the requirement for foreign air travelers to be fully vaccinated against the disease will remain in place until at least mid-April. The tournament at Indian Wells will be played from March 6-19, and the Miami Open is scheduled from March 20-April 2.

“At the moment everything is in process,” Djokovic said at his training ground in Belgrade. “I have a great desire to live there.

“I’m really grateful for the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments [officials] And the community publicly for their support and they want me to be able to play in their tournaments.

Djokovic is one of the most high-profile athletes who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Last year, Djokovic, 35, was deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open because of his vaccination status. Djokovic returned to winning tournaments after Australia dropped its strict vaccine mandate in January. The win was his 22nd Grand Slam title, equaling the men’s record with Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic said on Wednesday that Nadal remains his biggest on-court rival despite the rise of 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who was at the top of the rankings before a foot injury prevented him from playing at the Australian Open.

,[Alcaraz] Arguably the next biggest thing in our sport, or he’s already there.” Djokovic said. “I think the rivalry with Nadal is something that’s hard to get over.

“Nadal has been the biggest opponent and he will probably remain the biggest opponent I’ve ever had in my career.”

Djokovic this week achieved another milestone in his tennis career by tying German great Steffi Gauff with 377 weeks at the top of the world rankings.

Djokovic said, “Obviously, Steffi Graf is one of the biggest legends of our sport … and someone I really admire and respect.” “So, of course, it’s very flattering that I’ve been able to equal her record and obviously have the potential to break it next week as well.”

Djokovic said that his next tournament would be the Dubai Open next week.

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