Tennis expert Paul Annacone gave his thoughts on Novak Djokovic's last-minute Indian Wells withdrawal as he said he understands the Serb's desire to play but added the world No. 2 should have pulled out before the draw was made.
The Indian Wells main draw was made on Tuesday and Djokovic was seeded at No. 2. Djokovic knew he was unlikely to be given the green light to enter the United States but he still didn't withdraw from the tournament before the draw was made.
On Wednesday - the day before the start of the event - Djokovic confirmed he was denied entry into the United States. "[Novak Djokovic's late withdrawal] sure affects everybody. I understand his desire to play. Look, we all want to see him play, all the tennis fans around the world do.
But the challenging part is, when do you pull out?" Annacone said. "He absolutely has the right to hang in there and hope that those regulations change and see what he can find out from the folks that are on his team."
Annacone: Djokovic should have pulled out before the draw
Djokovic was replaced in the main draw by lucky loser Joao Sousa.
"But really, Tuesday afternoon is when they make the draw. So if he didn't know by then, he should have pulled out," Annacone said. "Then we wouldn't have had anyone potentially miss out because that first person who had to play qualifying would have gotten directly into the main draw." On Wednesday, Djokovic took to Twitter to confirm he was denied entry into the United States.
"While I was automatically listed in the @BNPPARIBASOPEN and @MiamiOpen draw I knew it would be unlikely I’d be able to travel. The CDC has confirmed that regulations won’t be changing so I won't be able to play in the US.
Good luck to those playing in these great tournaments," Djokovic wrote on Twitter. Djokovic now turns his focus to the clay season as he is expected to be allowed to play the Monte Carlo Masters and French Open.