10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Djokovic gets green light for Wimbledon as AELTC won’t require vaccination

Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his Wimbledon title. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

By Ricky Dimon

With players from Russia and Belarus banned from Wimbledon, this year’s field at the All-England Club will be a bit depleted.

But it won’t be missing Novak Djokovic.

AELTC officials confirmed on Tuesday that unvaccinated players–Djokovic among them–will be allowed to participate at the 2022 Championships.

“The requirements set out by government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccination,” said Sally Bolton, chief executive of the AELTC. “Therefore, whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry to compete at the Championships this year.”Earlier this month Wimbledon tournament organizers announced that Russians and Belarusians will be banned from the competition because of their countries’ involvement in the war on Ukraine.

“Given the profile of The Championships in the United Kingdom and around the world, it is our responsibility to play our part in the widespread efforts of Government, industry, sporting and creative institutions to limit Russia’s global influence through the strongest means possible,” a statement read. “In the circumstances of such unjustified and unprecedented military aggression, it would be unacceptable for the Russian regime to derive any benefits from the involvement of Russian or Belarusian players with The Championships.

“It is therefore our intention, with deep regret, to decline entries from Russian and Belarusian players to The Championships 2022.”

The most notable players who will be impacted by Wimbledon’s Russia-Belarus decision are Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Karen Khachanov, Aslan Karatsev, Aryna Sabalenka, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Viktoria Azarenka, Daria Kasatkina, and Veronika Kudermetova.

Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates winning the men’s final match against Matteo Berrettini of Italy at the Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon, Britain 11 July 2021. EPA-EFE/NEIL HALL

Djokovic has spoken out against the ban, calling it “crazy.”

The top-ranked Serb has played in only three events this year because of his vaccination status. He was infamously deported out of Australia right before the season’s first Grand Slam and he also could not enter the United States for Masters 1000 tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. Djokovic’s record is a disappointing 5-3, with losses to Jiri Vesely (Dubai quarterfinals), Alejandro Davidovich Fokina (Monte-Carlo second round), and Rublev (Belgrade final).

It has been quite a newsworthy week for the Big 3, even though none is in action on the tennis court–and won’t be until next week’s Mutua Madrid Open. Also on Tuesday, Rafael Nadal assured that he is good to go for Madrid and Roger Federer announced that he will play the Basel ATP 500 this fall.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.