Novak Djokovic has won an appeal after being threated with suspension from the Paris Masters 1000 over his late withdrawal in Indian Wells. The world No 1 kept himself in the draw for the Californian Masters event despite knowing he would be unable to travel to the United States, leaving the bottom half of the draw imbalanced when he was placed as the second seed only to pull out.
Djokovic has faced difficulty entering tournaments so far this year due to his unvaccinated status. The nine-time Australian Open champion was deported from the country on the eve of the tournament after having his visa cancelled twice over the potential his presence could “excite anti-vax sentiment”. He has since only played one tourmanent in 2022, losing in the Dubai ATP 500 quarter-finals.
During his appearance in Dubai, he admitted he would likely miss the current Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami with United States rules requiring all visitors to be fully vaccinated. Despite this, the world No 1 kept his name in the draw for Indian Wells after it was automatically included as a result of his ranking, and the draw ceremony went ahead with Djokovic as the second seed.
He then withdrew from both the BNP Paribas Open and the upcoming Miami Open, leaving the bottom half of the Indian Wells draw imbalanced as Grigor Dimitrov filled his position as the 33rd seed while Joao Sousa entered the main draw as a lucky loser, with many arguing that the Portuguese player shouldn’t have needed to expend his energy in qualies had Djokovic pulled out in time.
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