Republican lawmakers, Sen. Rick Scott and Sen. Marco Rubio, sent a letter to the president on Friday, urging the Biden administration to grant 22-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic a waiver to enter the U.S. for the Miami Open later this month, despite his vaccine status.
The letter addressed to President Biden calls out the current international travel vaccine mandate that prohibits non-citizens from entering the country without proof of vaccination against COVID-19.
Djokovic, who did not compete in the U.S. Open last year, has been public about his decision not to get the vaccine.
NOVAK DJOKOVIC ASKS PERMISSION TO ENTER US FOR TOURNAMENTS DUE TO VACCINE STATUS: ‘NOT IN MY HANDS’
“It has come to our attention that your administration is in receipt of a request to waive the current vaccine mandate for international travelers entering the United States from top-ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic,” the letter began.
“We write to urge you to grant the requested waiver, which is necessary to allow Mr. Djokovic to compete in the Miami Open professional tennis tournament held in our home state of Florida beginning March 19, 2023.”
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Djokovic told reporters last month that he had applied for special permission to enter the United States to compete at the Indian Wells tournament in California beginning on March 6 and Miami Open on March 19.
“Everything is in process. I’m thankful to the Indian Wells and Miami communities for their support. They would like me to be able to play in their tournaments . . . I’m looking forward to a positive decision coming soon, but it’s not in my hands,” he said at the time.
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The letter from Rubio and Scott cites the president’s remarks during a “60 Minutes” interview in September that the “pandemic is over” and Dr. Anthony Fauci’s comments on the efficacy of the vaccine as reason enough to grant Djokovic a waiver.
“Mr. Djokovic is a world-class athlete in peak physical condition who is not at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19. It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.”
It continued: “The lack of public health risk, along with the clear benefit of his participation in an event that will be a major driver for our local economies should make the decision before you simple and serve as a precedent for others in his position, while hopefully leading to the full reversal of this mandate for other foreign visitors who wish to legally travel to our great nation.”
Fox News’ Joe Morgan contributed to this report.