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Djokovic says he cannot play US tournaments attributable to unvaccinated standing

Tennis player Novak Djokovic on Wednesday said he will not compete at tennis tournaments in California and Florida because he can’t travel to the U.S. due to being unvaccinated.

In a tweet, the Serbian athlete cited regulations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that prevent non-U.S. citizens from landing on American soil if they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. That means Djokovic won’t compete at the Indian Wells Open in California and the Miami Open in the Sunshine State.

“I knew it would be unlikely I’d be able to travel,” tweeted Djokovic, a 20 Grand Slam tennis champion. “The CDC has confirmed that regulations won’t be changing so I won’t be able to play in the US.”

The Indian Wells Open began March 7 and runs until March 20, while the Miami Open is set for March 21.

According to CDC regulations for non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. immigrants, travelers must be fully vaccinated to travel by plane to American soil.

Djokovic made headlines when he was booted from the Australian Open in January after authorities detained him and deported him for violating a requirement to be vaccinated to enter the country, although he had gained entry by submitting a prior COVID-19 test showing he had recovered from the virus.

The athlete said last month he would stay unvaccinated even if it means not competing at tournaments, saying it was a “price I’m willing to pay.”

“Based on all the information that I got, I decided not to take the vaccine, as of today,” Djokovic said to the BBC. “I understand the consequences of my decision.”

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