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Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Tennis Star Novak Djokovic Forced to Withdraw From Miami Open Due to U.S. Vaccination Requirements for Foreign Travelers

Though the world has mostly moved on from Covid-19, the U.S. is still barring unvaccinated foreigners from entering the country.

Image Credit: Carine06 - Wikimedia Commons | CC BY-SA 2.0

The world’s top tennis player—currently ranked #1—Novak Djokovic of Serbia was deported from the Australian Open in 2022 because he was not vaccinated. Then again, he was forced to withdraw from the Indian Wells Open (located in California) in March 2023 and now he’s being barred again from participating in a major ATP tennis tournament: The Miami Open, which began March 20. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and two U.S. Senators, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, have gotten involved, but even with the support of tournament director James Blake, they still were not able to grant Novak an exemption. Djokovic has not been able to play at Indian Wells or the Miami Open since 2019.

According to the CDC, the U.S. is expected to lift travel restrictions and the “state of emergency” in May, thus allowing unvaccinated foreigners to travel to the United States. This means that Djokovic will finally be allowed back into the United States to play in the U.S. Open which begins on August 28, 2023.

The politicization of public health is a major concern and forcing citizens/stripping them of their individual right to make decisions regarding their own health is a crime. Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci has talked over and over about the safety and necessity of the Covid vaccine and boosters, instilling fear and urging people around the world to partake in the vaccines/boosters. Many people, however, were not convinced that there had been enough studies and for whatever reason, they chose not to take the vaccines.

Today Dr. Fauci flip-flops and contradicts his previous statements by admitting that the power of natural immunity is more potent than the vaccines. The New York Times for its part recently published an opinion piece titled “America Has Decided It Went Overboard on Covid-19.” Even the Wall Street Journal admitted that “The Lancet medical journal…published a review of 65 studies that concluded prior infection with Covid — i.e., natural immunity — is at least as protective as two doses of mRNA vaccines.” Moreover, there are ongoing new discoveries that the vaccines have dangerous effects, with long-term effects still yet to be discovered.

So why should any government or authority have power over a person’s right to make decisions about his/her own body and health? I don’t know Djokovic personally, but I certainly admire his athleticism and tennis skills. What a shame it is on those who stop him from playing on the world stage, where he has clearly proven he belongs. I hope he continues to stand up for his rights and I support him for staying true to his values and principles.

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This article was reprinted with permission from the author’s blog.


  • Marianna is the Chief External Affairs Officer at the Foundation for Economic Education aimed at teaching the humane value and ethical principles of free markets and entrepreneurship to FEE’s student audience.