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FL Governor to Biden: Let Unvaccinated Djokavic Play Tennis in Miami!

FL Governor to Biden: Let Unvaccinated Djokavic Play Tennis in Miami!

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) sent a letter to the White House last week urging President Joe Biden (D) to allow Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic to participate in the Miami Open despite his vaccination status. 

As I wrote last summer, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) prohibited Djokovic from competing in the 2021 and 2022 US Open contests because he chose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19. And despite a petition signed by thousands of fans, the USTA said it would continue to follow all CDC guidelines for foreign players traveling to the US. 

Djokovic was allowed to participate in the 2023 Australian Open (despite being banned from last year’s contest and then deported), but was unable to attend this year’s BNP Paribas Open in California.

The United States is currently following a presidential proclamation (last updated in April of 2022) that requires all noncitizens/nonimmigrants seeking entry to the US via air travel to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. 

“It has been reported that Novak Djokovic has formally applied and been denied permission from your administration to enter the United States so that he may compete at the upcoming Miami Open tennis tournament,” wrote DeSantis. “This denial is unfair, unscientific, and unacceptable. It’s time to put pandemic politics aside and give the American people what they want – let him play.” 

In his letter, DeSantis pointed out that migrants seeking entry to the US through the southern border are not required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and posited that Djokovic could travel to Florida by boat. DeSantis also noted that Biden himself declared the pandemic “over” in September of 2022 and told Congress to consider the emergency formally ended on May 11th, 2023. 

“Mr. Djokovic is an extraordinary tennis player who should have every right to compete in this year’s Miami Open,” continued DeSantis. “I respectfully ask you to grant his requested exemption so that he may delight and inspire tennis fans in Florida and around the Nation.” 

A similar letter to Biden, authored by Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL), cited a professional article in which Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledged the “limited efficacy of vaccines in protecting against respiratory pathogens, like the novel coronavirus.”

Thanks to DeSantis, Florida enjoyed lenient restrictions during the pandemic that allowed small businesses to thrive. As a Florida resident, I am more than thankful for his commonsense leadership during that difficult time.

Understanding that the pandemic is behind us, DeSantis in January announced a plan to eradicate all COVID-related mandates in the state of Florida. 

The Miami Open will begin on March 20th, 2023. 


DeSantis calls for Biden to let Djokovic compete in US despite vaccination status

DeSantis urges Biden to allow Novak Djokovic to compete in Miami Open, wonders if he can enter US via boat 

DeSantis Asks Biden If Djokovic Can Enter US by Boat 

Requirement for Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination for Air Passengers 

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  1. Tom

    Its just for show, it will never happen because the whole idea is ridiculous. This would be the epitome of censoring and cancel culture from the party that riles against such things!

  2. frank stetson

    As a proud member of the Democratic Party and a participating systemic racist, I love skiing and tennis :>) Just funning bout the systemic participation (aren’t we all :>), but they are still quite white, bloody quite white sports. But tennis is getting better every, especially the women’s, thank you Williams sisters, but still….. I follow tennis intensely marking the seasons by the grand slams and wondering if they will ever let Asia and the Middle East have one. Spring is coming, the AO is done. Summer will begin with the French, peak with OGS: Wimbledon, and end with the fastest court of them all – the US Open….

    I like the bad boys of tennis, like Mac says — they add flavor and spice to the game bringing in the fans which makes for better play. I believe McEnroe calls em like no other, ever, in history. I have my own personal system to pick winners based on my famous Stetsonian Algorithm of Apparel Whatever, the SAA wha? for short. It states: he/she/they with the best outfit will win! Best is subjective and can be classic, odd, radical, as well as just trendy. It also depends on what others are wearing. Primes versus pastels often comes into play. Corporate repetition has brought down many an outfit and player. History matters so you better protect the whites of Wimbledon, you better not step too far off that mark in the tennis cathedral. And who can forget Wawrinka’s euro-pj’s at the French Open that brought him the Cinderella title. He went clothing legit for Wimbledon, shot down in flames, and has been struggling ever since. Tried to tell him: clothes maketh the man.

    Professionally, Djokovic is oh-so-close to becoming the best ever. And a snappy dresser from the slight derivation of the pure classic school. As a player, he’s a machine. Originally a hard serving baseliner, over the years, he added every weapon a player can have. Stamina? Hard to pick a winded match for him. Personally, he is a horse’s ass, always has been as ass, not many friends in the locker-room except the Hoovers looking to suck up. As a tempestuous youth, think McEnroe on steroids, then as a senior on the tour, he’s the guy that you love to watch professionally, love to hate personally. He used to imitate others on the tour for fun, pretty funny really. But, his version always had a bit of the nasty edge. His antics were a bit of a sharp stick, not a cute chuckle. Now, he has his own heckling section jeering him into fits of anger at almost every major that he then whines about to the chair, the fans, anyone in earshot. They just love to tease him into visible fits of anger. It’s just so damned easy. His poor Father even got into it at the last one, outside the event no less. Like his imitations, it’s really funny but sort of mean at the same time. But this time it’s aimed at him. And he deserves it.

    He was calming down, acting more adult and professional, until Covid hit where some of his behaviors regressed and are kind of hard to believe. The disease is a disease, not a cause. The countries and tournaments always have had stringent rules, even for dress. I mean they may specify collar size. It’s tennis, always has been. So, in the late summer of 2020, having lived in the tennis world his entire life, Djokovic decides to show them all. He organizes the charity Adria Tour, a covid petri dish without any safeguards. The charity catastrophe included packed stands, fans literally on top of each other, most unmasked. Even if he had the best of charitable intentions, his operationalizing was a foolhardy risk, and he had to know it.

    While other events were fan-less, Joky chose Serbia, a country without safeguards. Players were hugging, fans were embracing, and soon —- it was a clusterfuck full of covid cases taking out at least five of the world’s top players including Joky. The final was cancelled. A second leg of the tour was cancelled. Some of the players, including Joky, gave money and prize money, but not sure if the tour ever made a buck for charity.

    Joky said: “I am hoping things will ease with time so we can all resume lives the way they were. I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm. We were wrong and it was too soon.” Too late is more like it.

    And then he began his global protest against the vaccine which leads us to today. As a lifelong tennis fan, I say fuck him, not worth it.

    He should be banned, it’s the rules. He will be missed; the tournament is not the same without number one. And his game is at its zenith — he will not get much better, but everyone else is. History is being cheated by his actions, and his actions alone. It is just a shot, not a political, religious, or other arcane statement of support for some ideal.

    But so it goes. For every event he misses, the younger set steps up to the line and becomes more and more adroit at the game.
    There has been great tennis without him. Fantastic tennis if for no other reason than the players are not hitting the same old Joko shots. Watching more youngsters, and not just Nadal and Joko is fun. Plus, for Joky, every time he takes a break, it gets harder upon his return. Nadal is already on the cusp, an injury would probably seal his fate in 2023, but he is giving it one more push. Djokovic only has so much time, he has already broken age records, as all the greats do lately. He is 35, one year younger than Nadal and probably less affected by past injuries. But he does not have long and every match matters. Sad but true. And of his own making, DeSantis should step down and not arbitrate the world of sports.

    Perhaps skiing is the hot ticket for me right now: American Mikaela Shiffrin just won her world-record 83rd race on the women’s World Cup circuit a week ago passing Lindsey Vonn as the all-time top alpine skier. Vonn sadly, retired in 2019, too many falls. These women are fearless and so, so much fun to watch. Good to have a US contender again. The Shiffrin run is still playing on TV, it was on yesterday.