Novak Djokovic will be allowed to defend his Wimbledon title in 2022 after the tournament declared players won’t have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to compete. 

The world number one’s year began in controversy when he was deported from Australia and unable to compete at the Australian Open due to his unvaccinated status. 

Djokovic then went on to suffer successive defeats in Dubai and Monte Carlo but did recently reach the final of the Serbia Open. 

Cleared to play in the French Open next month, Djokovic has now also been given the green light to compete at Wimbledon this year as he looks to chase down Rafael Nadal’s record of 21 Grand Slams. 

“The requirement set out by the government to enter the UK does not include mandatory vaccination,” All England Lawn Tennis Club chief executive Sally Bolton said. 

“Therefore, while it is of course encouraged, it is not a condition of entry.”

Djokovic, currently on 20 Grand Slams, has won Wimbledon six times and triumphed in the past three tournaments. 

Will Russians be allowed to play at Wimbledon?

While Djokovic will be welcomed at Wimbledon, Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from the tournament due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.  

Players, including Djokovic, have slammed the decision but those in charge of the competition are currently standing by the call. 

“If conditions significantly change, we would happily review. At this point, we’re very clear about our intent,” Bolton told BBC Sport.

“We absolutely acknowledge that others will have different views about the decision we have taken.

“But in the context of the government guidance and increasingly serious situation in Ukraine, we really believe it was the only viable option we could take.

“The government did set out clear guidance within which we had to operate, but it is our decision based on the reasons we’ve set out.”

The Italian Open, a clay-court tournament to be held in early May, is also set to ban Russian and Belarusian players from competing, according to The Times

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