Taylor Fritz, Indian Wells’ defending champion: “The draw gets easier without Djokovic”

Taylor Fritz of Team United States plays Hubert Hurkacz of Team Poland on Ken Rosewall Arena during their Final Four semi-final match of the 2023 United Cup in Sydney on Saturday, January 7, 2023. MANDATORY PHOTO CREDIT Tennis Australia/James Gourley
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SYDNEY – “Djokovic not playing? I didn’t know that.” Taylor Fritz smiles when he is told that Novak Djokovic won’t be able to play Indian Wells, the tournament the top-ranked U.S. player has to defend in March. “There is my live reaction to that,” he says.
Jessica Pegula, always up to date with the tennis’ news informs her teammate. “The vaccination status. He still can’t get into the U.S.”.
The U.S. government extended until April 10 the time in which foreigners must present the document proving that they are vaccinated against COVID-19. The 21-time Grand Slam champion is not. Therefore, as in 2022, he will not be able to play the Masters 1000 in Indian Wells and Miami. In California, Fritz is the reigning champion.
“Obviously from like a player standpoint wanting to defend my title, it makes the draw easier that Novak is not in the draw, but I don’t know, I
feel like we are at a certain point where he should probably just be allowed into the country. But I don’t make the rules, you know,” Fritz said after being asked by CLAY in the press conference.
The Team USA is all laughs and jokes in the United Cup. They beat Poland 5-0 in the mixed team competition and advanced to the final, where they will face either Italy or Greece.
Frances Tiafoe, sitting next to Frtz, gives his opinion: “I think you’re always going to want the best players in the world playing the big events. It is what it is, the rules are the rules. I’m going to miss him a lot in Indian Wells.”
Tiafoe pauses and laughs to himself, “Not really.”
Alcaraz withdraws from Australia
World number one Carlos Alcaraz announced he won’t be playing the first Slam of the year due to a leg injury he suffered while trainning.
Tiafoe reacted with humor. The Spaniard gave him a hard time by beating him in the fifth set in the semifinals of the 2022 US Open.
“Tennis is brutal. It doesn’t end. It seems like there is a big event around the corner every other day, honestly. I mean, he’s gonna be fine. He’s extremely talented and a great player. Sucks that he’s hurt. I’m gonna miss him. I’m not gonna miss him at all (smiling). But, yeah, again, I mean, I hope he recovers quick and we see him soon. He’s great for the game”, Tiafoe said.
+Clay  Carlos Alcaraz, the new era that begins without the death of the previous one

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