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.