INDIAN WELLS: Top-ranked Novak Djokovic is on the entry list for the BNP Paribas Open in California, where the Serb would face a vaccine mandate.
Djokovic, who was unvaccinated against COVID-19 as of last month, was detained and eventually deported from Australia for failing to meet that country's strict vaccination requirements. It prevented him from defending his Australian Open title last month.
To enter Australia, Djokovic submitted a positive test issued in Serbia on Dec. 16 for a visa exemption on the grounds that he had recently recovered from the virus. But the Australian government canceled his visa and deported him.
Neither the ATP nor WTA tours require players to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, non-US citizens must be fully vaccinated to travel to the US by plane, according to the CDC. Travelers are required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 when traveling to the US by air. Limited exceptions apply.
Djokovic is a five-time champion at Indian Wells, where he hasn't played since 2019. He hasn't played a match since November at the Davis Cup in Madrid. Djokovic is scheduled to play a tournament in Dubai later this month.
Fans attending Indian Wells from March 7-20 are required to show valid proof of full vaccination. Australian Open winners Rafael Nadal and Ash Barty head the list of entries released Wednesday.
Three-time winner Nadal returns to the desert for the first time since 2019. He missed last year's event that was moved to October because of a foot injury. He won his record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title in Australia.
Joining Nadal in the men's draw are Australian Open finalist Daniil Medvedev, No. 3 Alexander Zverev, No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas, and defending champion Cameron Norrie. Top-ranked Barty already has two titles this year.
She's joined in the women's draw by defending champion Paula Badosa, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, 2021 French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova, No. 4 Karolina Pliskova and Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins. Teenagers Leylah Fernandez, Emma Raducanu and Coco Gauff return for their second appearances in the desert.
The remaining spots in the draw will be filled by winners of the qualifying and wild-card recipients.