The unvaccinated Djokovic returns to Miami and Indian Wells: his reaction after the elimination of pandemic anomalies

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic said he was excited to return to Indian Wells for the first time since 2019 after US travel restrictions linked to Covid-19 kept him away from the competition for the past five years.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic is aiming for his 6th title (record) at the ATP Masters 1,000 tournament in California, which will debut next week, being considered the most important in the world of tennis outside of the Grand Slams.

Five years have passed, far too long, to not be present at Tennis Paradise, one of the best tournaments in the world, without a doubtDjokovic said in a video streamed from the small, picturesque town in the Southern California desert.

It is probably the favorite Masters tournament for many players, myself included. I can't wait to come and perform again in front of some of the best tennis fans we have on the circuit“, added the Serb.

Novak Djokovic won the first of his 24 Grand Slam tournaments at the Australian Open in 2008, and a few months later he won his first crown at Indian Wells.

The first time I won the title at Indian Wells was one of the biggest titles of my career at that point. I remember playing Mardy Fish in the finals“, he specified.

I was lucky enough to win the tournament four more times and played some epic finals against (Roger) Federer and (Rafael) Nadal and a lot of the great players of that era. I can't wait to come back“, added the Serbian player.

Rafael Nadal, three-time Indian Wells champion, will also be present at this year's edition, after missing the Australian Open last month due to a muscle tear.

The Indian Wells tournament was canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and Djokovic missed the next three editions, after the authorities in the United States did not allow unvaccinated foreign citizens to enter the American territory.

Djokovic was seen on Sunday evening in Los Angeles, attending the match played by the Argentine Lionel Messi under the colors of his team, Inter Miami, against the LA Galaxy, in the North American Soccer League (MLS).

Carlos Alcaraz and Elena Rîbakina are the defending champions at Indian Wells, which will be held this year from March 3-17.