Novak Djokovic revealed he is currently unable to enter the USA and will miss the prestigious Indian Wells masters tournament in March as things stand.
The Serbian world number one eased into the last-16 of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship with a straight sets victory over Lorenzo Musetti.
But while the UAE's more lenient entry requirement laws accommodate for the unvaccinated Djokovic, the USA's do not.
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And the 34-year-old admitted that he was set to miss out on upcoming events across the Atlantic.
"As of today, not. I can't go, I can't enter the United States," he said in the press conference following his win.
"As of today I'm not able to play. But let's see what happens. I mean, maybe things change in the next few weeks."
Djokovic was greeted with a hero's welcome in Dubai, a stark contrast to the reception he was expected to receive in Melbourne prior to his deporation.
“I couldn’t ask for a better reception,” Djokovic said on-court afterwards.
“It’s been a while since I played my last match so I couldn’t have a better place to kickstart the season. The best possible experience for me so thank you for the way you welcomed me on court.
“It’s a straight sets win, so I have to be satisfied with my tennis and especially after not playing for almost three months. There were moments when I played great and moments when I made some unforced errors uncharacteristically.
“It’s normal to expect that but I’m glad to finish off the job tonight in straight sets. He’s a very talented player from Italy with not much to lose. Windy conditions were tricky to play but a very pleasant experience for me tonight.”
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