With Miami participation unlikely, Novak Djokovic invited to play Sanremo Challenger
by DZEVAD MESIC | VIEW 8758
The Sanremo Challenger organizers are inviting Novak Djokovic to return to the tournament where he once made it all the way. Djokovic, who is now 35 years old, captured his last Challenger title in 2005 when he defeated Francesco Aldi in the Sanremo final.
Since then, Djokovic has been dominating the main-level events. Djokovic, who was denied entry into the United States for Indian Wells, will likely be forced to skip Miami as well. Meanwhile, the Sanremo Challenger is taking place between March 27 - April 02.
“We look forward to seeing you on March 26 for the tournament that you won 18 years ago and for the first time will be a #ATPChallenger 125. We still have your trophy, we are waiting to hand it over to you with the hope of seeing you play again on our courts.
We reserve the wild card for you, we are confident," the tournament's message to Djokovic read.
But Djokovic cannot play Sanremo
The Sanremo Challenger is taking place is starting in two weeks.
But in the ATP rulebook, there is a rule that says that top-10 players need to enter a Challenger tournament at least 21 days before the start of the tournament. “Players positioned 1-10 in the ATP Singles Rankings twenty-one (21) days prior to the first Monday of the ATP Challenger Tour tournament are prohibited from entering, accepting a wild card and/or competing in an ATP Challenger Tour tournament," the ATP rulebook states.
Meanwhile, Djokovic is still holding hope that he will be allowed to play at the Miami Masters, which starts on March 22nd. “We haven’t given up (on Miami). He wants to play and I would love it if they allow him – it would be great both for him and for tennis.
If not, it’s not the end of the world, he didn’t play last year as well. The most important thing is that we find out soon, so that we can make a plan," Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic told Tennis Majors.