World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from this week’s BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, the tournament announced on Sunday, suggesting that his visa application to enter the United States had been unsuccessful.
Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against Covid-19, said last month that he had hoped for a “positive result” on being able to receive special permission to play tournaments in the US, where international visitors must be vaccinated in order to gain entry.
Georgian player Nikoloz Basilashvili has taken Djokovic’s place in the draw.
Speaking to reporters on Friday after his defeat against Daniil Medvedev in Dubai, the Australian Open champion said he was “still waiting for the news from America.”
He added: “If there’s no America, I guess I’ll play clay. Monte Carlo is probably the next tournament. If that’s the case, I’ll take some time off, I’ll prepare.”
CNN has contacted Djokovic’s representatives for comment on his withdrawal from Indian Wells but did not receive a response.
The tournament begins on Monday and concludes on March 19.
Last week, the US Open said in a tweet that Djokovic is one of the “greatest champions our sport has ever seen,” adding that organizers of the grand slam were “hopeful” his petition to enter the country would be successful.
Djokovic began the year by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas to win the Australian Open, equaling Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 grand slam singles titles in the men’s all-time list.
He could surpass Nadal’s record at the French Open later this year, though the Spaniard will be looking to defend his title as he continues his recovery from injury.