It’s not often the worlds of professional tennis and the GOP collide.
This week, multiple conservative leaders voiced their disdain for the outdated vaccine mandate policy that is preventing the world’s No. 1 ranked tennis player, Novak Djokovic, from playing at the Indian Wells Masters in California, which is now already underway.
Conservative politicians are advocating for Djokovic to gain entry into the U.S. to play. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) penned a letter to President Joe Biden to see if an exemption could be granted. DeSantis is aiming to get Djokovic on the court for the Miami Open starting March 19.
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Djokovic applied for a special vaccine exemption, which was denied.
The only thing keeping Novak Djokovic from participating in the Miami Open tennis tournament is President Biden’s misguided and unscientific COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreigner travelers.
Mr. President – lift your restrictions and let him compete. pic.twitter.com/fFyhNoUV4S
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 7, 2023
“This denial is unfair, unscientific and unacceptable. I urge you to reconsider,” DeSantis wrote in the letter to the president. “It’s time to put pandemic politics aside and give the American people what they want — let him play.
“I note that since the onset of COVID-19, Mr. Djokovic has visited the United States at least twice – including once during your presidency – without any apparent health incident,” the letter continued.
DeSantis also opined that Djokovic should be allowed to enter the country by boat. The potential 2024 presidential candidate also included a deadline for an answer by March 10. Will the sitting president respond and make this right?
DeSantis understands Djokovic’s presence in Florida is an obvious positive for commerce. But more so, it gives the American people a look at DeSantis and Biden going head-to-head on an issue. Maybe DeSantis is an avid tennis fan, but his outlying motives seem clear here.
The Serbian tennis star was barred from the 2022 U.S. Open — the nation’s premier tennis tournament. Djokovic’s presence in the U.S. is important. We are a country with deep ties to sports in our culture. Denying the best in the world from competing for any reason should raise alarm.
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Yet Biden is set on keeping one of the world’s top athletes on the sidelines. In the heat of the moment, international travel restrictions seemed like a necessary precaution. At this point, it’s just stubbornness to keep this nonsense going.
I took the time to fill out a volunteer form for the 2023 Miami Open — just for fun. At no point did the application ask about vaccination status.
So, I could show up and potentially be a courtside volunteer and be completely unvaccinated. Yet, a man who has won 22 Grand Slam titles is forced to sit at home and not compete.