Djokovic finally gets a shot at Wimbledon title defence

London: Unvaccinated players are not barred from participating in Wimbledon, clearing the path for Novak Djokovic to defend his men’s singles title in June. 

The CEO of All England Lawn Tennis Club, Sally Bolton, said the tournament would not mandate vaccination against COVID-19, adding participants are not required to quarantine on arrival ahead of the tournament.

“The requirements set up do not include mandatory vaccination,” Bolton said. “It will not be a condition of entry for the championships this year.”

Wimbledon begins from June 27, when Djokovic has a shot at becoming a seven-time champion on the grass court.

Djokovic was in Australia and even practiced on the court after being sent to a quarantine hotel in a litigious tug of war with the top officials in the country. 

The Serbian ultimately was sent home because of his unvaccinated status. The matter played out in the court system as Australian officials flagged Djokovic for breaking quarantine prior to his arrival and submitting inaccurate documentation to receive an exemption to play in the January event.

Djokovic plans to compete in the French Open and publicly objected to Wimbledon’s ban of Russian and Belarusian players from the 2022 event. Bolton said Tuesday the decision was made under direct guidance from the British government.

Among the banned players on the men’s side are World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev and No. 8 Andrey Rublev.

It’s the first time since immediately after World War II that players were banned on the basis of nationality, when Germans and Japanese were barred.

Djokovic, 34, is seeking his 21st major championship, and is currently one behind Rafael Nadal with 20 Grand Slam titles.

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