NOVAK DJOKOVIC was drawn as the second seed in Indian Wells despite being unable to travel and compete in the tournament.
Novak Djokovic has won an appeal after being threated with suspension from the Paris Masters 1000 over his late withdrawal in Indian Wells. The world No 1 kept himself in the draw for the Californian Masters event despite knowing he would be unable to travel to the United States, leaving the bottom half of the draw imbalanced when he was placed as the second seed only to pull out.
Djokovic has faced difficulty entering tournaments so far this year due to his unvaccinated status. The nine-time Australian Open champion was deported from the country on the eve of the tournament after having his visa cancelled twice over the potential his presence could “excite anti-vax sentiment”. He has since only played one tourmanent in 2022, losing in the Dubai ATP 500 quarter-finals.
During his appearance in Dubai, he admitted he would likely miss the current Masters 1000 events in Indian Wells and Miami with United States rules requiring all visitors to be fully vaccinated. Despite this, the world No 1 kept his name in the draw for Indian Wells after it was automatically included as a result of his ranking, and the draw ceremony went ahead with Djokovic as the second seed.
He then withdrew from both the BNP Paribas Open and the upcoming Miami Open, leaving the bottom half of the Indian Wells draw imbalanced as Grigor Dimitrov filled his position as the 33rd seed while Joao Sousa entered the main draw as a lucky loser, with many arguing that the Portuguese player shouldn’t have needed to expend his energy in qualies had Djokovic pulled out in time.
The Serb was punished as a result of his late withdrawal, with the ATP Tour sending out an email confirming the penalty for pulling out of the main draw of a Masters 1000 event. “Any player who withdraws from the Main Draw of an ATP Tour Masters 1000 event shall have a ranking penalty assessed and be suspended from a subsequent ATP Tour Masters 1000 event. This event shall be the event where the player earned the highest point total during the previous 12 months,” it read. As the defending champion of the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy, this was the tournament Djokovic was set to be suspended from.
However, Djokovic has successfully appealed to the ATP and will be able to play the Paris Masters in October as usual, according to tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg. The reason for the 34-year-old’s successful appeal has not been revealed but the tour’s email outlines the process, saying: “Players may appeal a suspension penalty to the ATP Tribunal,” and requires “attached medical certificates outlining the reason for the withdrawal” to be sent to ATP staff members. “Players with three exemptions do not need to appeal the suspension unless they have exceeded their exemptions total,” it adds
To use an exemption, all players must withdraw before the official withdrawal deadline but the world No 1 did not pull out until after the draw had been made, despite not being in the country when he was included as the second seed.
It is also not known whether Djokovic has received a fine for his late withdrawal from Indian Wells after winning his appeal. According to the ATP Tour, all players receive a fine and suspension pentalty unless they withdraw on-site, retired or withdraw from an event the week before but after the current tournament withdrawal deadline, or appeal to the ATP Tribunal