Players who have not been vaccinated against the coronavirus will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon this year, according to the All England Club, which means six-time winner Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his title when the tournament begins on June 27.
Djokovic was unable to compete in the Australian Open in January after his visa was revoked by the Australian government due to his lack of vaccination and anti-vaccine views.
However, vaccination against the coronavirus is not necessary to enter Britain and “will not be a condition of entry to compete” at Wimbledon, according to Sally Bolton, chief executive of the All England Club.
Djokovic has subsequently missed two high-profile tournaments in the United States due to a law prohibiting him from entering the nation as an unvaccinated foreigner, a rule that could prevent him from competing in the US Open later this year.
Unvaccinated players are allowed to compete in the French Open, the next Grand Slam tournament on the calendar, as long as the pandemic in France has not spread out of control.
A few months ago, top-ranked Djokovic stated he would rather miss Grand Slam tournaments than get vaccinated against the coronavirus, stalling his pursuit to match Rafael Nadal’s 21 career major titles. He called it “the price that I am willing to pay.”
“He added that he is not opposed to vaccinations but instead prizes “the freedom to choose what you put into your body.”
On Tuesday, All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt defended the decision to exclude Russian and Belarusian players from Wimbledon due to the invasion of Ukraine, a move that players, including Djokovic, and the governing bodies of men’s and women’s tennis have criticised as unfair.