Professional tennis player Novak Djokovic misses the next important tournament. Because the world number one, who has not been vaccinated against the coronavirus, is still not allowed to enter the USA, the 35-year-old Serb is also missing from the Miami Open, which begins next week, after the Masters tournament in Indian Wells.

"We tried to get an exemption for Novak Djokovic. But that didn't work out," said tournament director James Blake on Friday (local time). "We have tried to talk to the government, but that is not in our hands."

For an exemption for the 22-time Grand Slam winner, among others, Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis had advocated. The US Tennis Association USTA and the organizers of the US Open had also pledged their support. Until 11 May, the rule in the USA is that foreigners need proof of vaccination if they enter by plane.

Djokovic has already won the tournament in Miami six times. The Serb had already missed the two tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami last year because of the vaccination problem.

"We are one of the most important tournaments in the world, we want to have the best players who can play. We did everything we could," Blake said. But Djokovic is the second top player missing in the USA after the injury-related cancellation of Spaniard Rafael Nadal.