TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, joined by other state officials, gathered in Tampa to discuss what they call “hoaxes” about banned books in the state on Wednesday.
During the conference, DeSantis urged for President Biden to allow the top-ranked tennis star, Novak Djokovic to compete in the United States, despite being unvaccinated.
“We’ve actually been working on this for many, many weeks. So, Novak Djokovic, I think as you guys know, number one tennis player, one of the best ever, he is being discriminated against because he didn’t take the MNRA Covid jab,” Gov. DeSantis said.
On Sunday, it was announced that Djokovic would be absent from the upcoming BNP Paribas Open after he lost his bid to enter the United States unvaccinated to play in the Southern California event.
The tournament announced Djokovic’s withdrawal from the competition on Sunday night.
“He never wanted to do it from the beginning,” DeSantis continued. “And you know what? There are people in Florida who never wanted to do it, and we fought for your right to make that choice without losing your job, or having the stuff.”
DeSantis added that Djokovic poses “zero risk” to the U.S., the state of Florida, and zero risk to Miami.
“He should be allowed to compete now. I would run a boat from the Bahamas here for him, I would do that 100%. But I think his people are looking at it, and I’m not sure that’s the way they want to come into the county, which I understand. I think it’d be a great moment,” DeSantis said.
Back in November 2021, the White House implemented that international travelers coming into the U.S. would have to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Moving forward, the U.S. is set to end the COVID-19 emergency declaration on May 11, which will allow foreign travelers entry to the country despite their vaccination status.
“So, I hope he’s able to play, I hope that the President will not necessarily even grant him special, I think what he should do is just repeal the rule. It’s not a good rule,” DeSantis said. “And it’s not something that makes sense and we’re only a handful of countries that do it.”
According to the Associated Press, Djokovic previously requested a vaccine waiver to enter the county, but it was denied by Homeland Security.
Last week, Senator Rick Scott, (R-Fla.), announced on Twitter that Djokovic’s waiver request was denied. Had the request been accepted, the Serbian tennis star would’ve been able to play back-to-back at Indiana Wells and Miami, which is played on March 19 to April 2.