Novak Djokovic will not be winning a sixth career title at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, this year.
He revealed he withdrew from the tournament and the upcoming Miami Open because of the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention's regulations that foreigners who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 cannot currently enter the United States:
Novak Djokovic @DjokerNole
While I was automatically listed in the <a href="https://twitter.com/BNPPARIBASOPEN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BNPPARIBASOPEN</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/MiamiOpen?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MiamiOpen</a> draw I knew it would be unlikely I’d be able to travel. 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 👊
D'Arcy Maine of ESPN noted he said the following on his Instagram story: "As international COVID regulations are always being amended, I wanted to wait and see if anything would change. The CDC confirmed today that regulations are not changing which means I will be not be playing in the US. I know my fans are looking forward to seeing me play again and I hope to be back playing for them on the tour soon."
The BNP Paribas Open also announced Wednesday that Djokovic withdrew despite being given the No. 2 seed in Tuesday's draw. That means Grigor Dimitrov moves to his vacated spot in the draw and a loser from qualifying will take Dimitrov's spot.
The tournament previously announced the following: "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."
Djokovic remains unvaccinated against COVID-19, which clearly complicated the chances he could participate in the tournament.
Though being unvaccinated did not preclude him from being included in the field, he was unable to enter the United States. Shad Powers of the Palm Springs Desert Sun noted Djokovic previously suggested he wanted to play in the tournament but was not willing to get vaccinated to do so.
This comes after the 20-time Grand Slam winner did not participate in this year's Australian Open either after he was expelled from the country with his vaccination status as a primary storyline.
Had Djokovic participated in the BNP Paribas Open, he would have been on the short list of the favorites.
After all, he won the title in this event in 2008, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Though he didn't participate in 2021, he likely would have been motivated to return to that form after he lost in the round of 32 in 2019, round of 64 in 2018 and round of 16 in 2017.
Alas, he will not participate in the event or in the Miami Open set to start March 23.