Novak Djokovic cleared to defend Wimbledon title

Novak Djokovic, the 2021 Wimbledon men’s singles champion, will have the opportunity to defend his title in 2022.

The All-England Club announced on Tuesday that players taking part in Wimbledon at the end of June do not need to be vaccinated, and unvaccinated players will not need to quarantine before competing.

“The requirements put in place do not include compulsory vaccination,” All-England Club CEO Sally Bolton told ESPN on Tuesday. “It will not be an entry requirement for the championships this year.”

Djokovic’s status for Wimbledon was unknown

Until the announcement by the All-England Club on Tuesday, it was uncertain whether Djokovic, who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, would be able to compete at Wimbledon, particularly in light of what happened at the Australian Open earlier this year.

In January, Djokovic was barred from the Australian Open due to his vaccination status. While he initially received a “medical exemption” to play, his vaccination status (along with several forms that Djokovic claimed his team filled out incorrectly) prevented him from entering the country. He was taken into custody once his plane landed, his visa was canceled and he was eventually ordered to leave Australia.

Djokovic, 34, has won 20 Grand Slams. He struggled to win his 21st and set a new Grand Slam record at the US Open last September, but Daniil Medvedev put an end to that by beating him in the final. This loss prevented Djokovic from making history and finishing the Calendar Slam, as he won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon in 2021. Rafael Nadal ended up setting the record for Grand Slam in January when he won the 2022 Australian Open for his 21st Grand Slam victory.

While Wimbledon allows unvaccinated players to compete without quarantine, they have banned Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament due to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s continued invasion of Ukraine. This means that Daniil Medvedev (World No. 2), Andrey Rublev (No. 8), Aryna Sabalenka (No. 4), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (No. 15) and Victoria Azarenka (No. 17) will not be able to play solely due to of their nationality.

Wimbledon starts on June 27.

Novak Djokovic will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon even if he is not vaccinated against COVID-19. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

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