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Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, suggesting that his application for a COVID-19 vaccine waiver to enter the U.S. may have been unsuccessful.
Djokovic, who is unvaccinated, applied for special permission to play at the ATP Masters events at Indian Wells and Miami, but the rejection of his request by Homeland Security was announced by Senator Rick Scott on Friday.
The Serbian’s absence from Indian Wells means that Nikoloz Basilashvili will take his place in the tournament. The U.S. will end its COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 11, which will allow foreign air travelers to enter the country without being vaccinated.
Djokovic has surpassed tennis legend Steffi Graf’s record to become the player with the most weeks as world No. 1 in the men’s rankings. With 6,980 points, Djokovic has held the top spot for a total of 378 weeks, breaking Graf’s record of 377 weeks as world No. 1 in the women’s rankings.
Djokovic expressed his pride at the achievement, stating that it was surreal to be amongst legendary names such as Graf. Despite suffering a hamstring injury last month, Djokovic is now pain-free and preparing for the upcoming Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships.
Ranked second is Carlos Alcaraz, trailing Djokovic by 200 points. The 22-time Grand Slam champion is aiming to add to his impressive tally of Grand Slam titles, with his last victory coming at the Australian Open last month.
Djokovic’s success places him ahead of other tennis greats such as Martina Navratilova, Serena Williams, and Roger Federer, who have spent 332, 319, and 310 weeks, respectively, as world No. 1.
WORDS: Scientific Inquirer Staff.