The Florida Governor says he is still trying to skirt ‘ancient’ vaccine mandates for foreign visitors after writing President Biden a letter urging him to let the tennis star into the United States.
The world No 1‘s wish for an exemption for next week’s tournament is fading, with Djokovic standing firm on his decision not to get the vaccine because he didn’t consider himself a high risk.
He has already withdrawn from the Indian Wells Open in California after being denied entry to the U.S.
‘Almost no other country in the world is doing this’, DeSantis said criticizing the continued ban on travelers who haven’t had a COVID shot.
DeSantis admitted it ultimately wasn’t his choice if the World Number One would be allowed to compete, and joked that he may need a boat from the Bahamas to south Florida.
Ron DeSantis is determined to get unvaccinated Novak Djokovic to play in the Miami Open – even if it means getting him in on a boat
Novak Djokovic (pictured) is set to pull out of the Indian Wells Open tournament next week
He also said Djokovic decided against getting the shot because he was only at a ‘minor risk’, and now has ‘natural immunity’ because he was infected.
‘It just shows you how ridiculous some of this nonsense is that we’ve been going through,’ he added.
Touting his COVID response in Florida, he said: ‘We stood up against the madness. We made the state of refuge of sanity and the citadel of freedom. We didn’t let the state descend into some type of Fauci-an dystopia.
DeSantis’ letter sent on Monday, obtained by DailyMail.com, came the same day he delivered his State of the State address and increases his national activity as he inches closer to a presidential announcement.
‘The denial is unfair, unscientific and unacceptable,’ DeSantis wrote in his letter. ‘I urge you to reconsider.’
There are only five days until the opening Masters competition this season and the 35-year-old has not yet received a response from the US government about his application.
He said: ‘Whatever the decision is, if I’m not allowed, I’m going to pull out, of course, before the draw.
‘Let’s see what the answer is, then I’ll take it from there. I’ll focus right now on the tournament here in Dubai, then we’ll see what’s next.’
The letter comes as nearly all COVID-19 restrictions in the U.S. have been lifted, and the national emergency declaration is set to come to an end in May.
‘It’s time to put pandemic politics aside and give the American people what they want – let him play,’ DeSantis insisted.
‘The only thing keeping Mr. Djokovic from participating in this tournament is your administration’s continued enforcement of a misguided, unscientific, and out-of-date COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreign guests seeking to visit our great country,’ the Florida governor continues tearing into Biden and the remnants of pandemic-era policies.
The letter is further sign that Desantis is preparing to take on Biden should they go head-to-head in a general election battle in 2024.
The US is the only country on the ATP tour for which players must be vaccinated – though that rule is set to be lifted on May 11 by President Joe Biden’s office – three months before the Grand Slam US Open.
DeSantis’ two page letter to Biden, obtained by DailyMail.com before it was released publicly, shows the Florida governor demanding the president stop enforcing ‘a misguided, unscientific, and out-of-date COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreign guests’
His absence gives teenager Carlos Alcaraz (above) the chance to go top of the world rankings
Djokovic missed the flagship US Open and several other competitions in the US last year after the Centre for Disease Control did not ease its regulations. Indian Wells and Miami organizers have urged the government to let him in to the country.
The Serbian did not withdraw from last year’s Indian Wells entry list until after the draw was made, which was controversial given his decision meant the first alternate had to go through qualifying rather than taking his spot, and denied another the opportunity to take the qualifying place.
But this year, he has insisted he will pull out before the draw rather than waiting until shortly before the first match.
His final decision could come on Saturday, after the Dubai Duty Free Championships ends, with the Indian Wells draw on Sunday, a day before the event begins.
If Djokovic does withdraw, Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz can go top of the world rankings, but only if he wins the tournament.
The veteran, who is 15 games unbeaten, faces 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in the Dubai semi-final on Friday.
British star Emma Raducanu, 20, was handed a Miami Open wildcard spot on Thursday and will also appear at Indian Wells after several other players withdrew.
Miami Open chief and ex-player James Blake has urged the US government to let Djokovic in