Indian Wells: Djokovic vaccine in the spotlight again as number two named in draw
Novak Djokovic looked a certain non-starter for the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, but his involvement is up in the air again.
Novak Djokovic is at the centre of another covid-19 vaccine saga after being included in the draw for the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.
The former world number one was handed a second-round clash against either David Goffin or Jordan Thompson.
All 32 seeds receive a first-round bye, so although the men's singles begins on Thursday at the California desert event, Djokovic is not due to be in action until the weekend.
However, it remains to be seen whether he is allowed into the United States, given he has declared he has not received any vaccination against the covid-19 virus.
Tournament organisers admit they do not know whether Djokovic will play.
Indian Wells unsure if Djokovic will be allowed into US
They said in a statement on the event's official Twitter feed: "Novak Djokovic is on the tournament entry list, and therefore is placed into the draw.
"We are currently in communication with his team; however, it has not been determined if he will participate in the event by getting CDC approval to enter the country.
"We will provide updates in the future as we learn more."
The CDC is America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which lays down requirements for non-US international citizens travelling to the United States.
Within its rules, it is stated that all non-US citizens travelling to the US "must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted covid-19 vaccine", adding that "only limited exceptions apply".
Djokovic tested positive for covid-19 in December, and at one stage it appeared that recovering from that, and having post-virus antibodies, would be enough to allow him to travel to Melbourne and play in the Australian Open.
That proved not to be the case, with Djokovic twice detained after arriving in Australia before being deported.
He has since made his return to tennis at the Dubai Tennis Championships, where he surprisingly lost in the quarter-finals to Jiri Vesely.
The 34-year-old Serbian has been overtaken for the rankings top spot by Daniil Medvedev, the Russian who will be playing under a neutral flag while his country's military invasion of Ukraine continues. Medvedev will begin against Alexei Popyrin or a qualifier at Indian Wells.