Novak Djokovic Has Been Cleared To Play At Wimbledon Despite Being Unvaccinated
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Novak Djokovic is allowed to defend his grand slam title at Wimbledon after the tournament confirmed players will not have to provide vaccine accreditation to compete in this year's showdown.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) has given Djokovic and other unvaccinated players the go-ahead to compete, adding that a Covid-19 jab is not required to enter Britain.
"Whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry to compete at the championships this year," AELTC chief executive Sally Bolton said, according to the ABC.
The Wimbledon chief also confirmed that players will be able to choose their own accommodation once again.
In 2021, the grand slam was permitted to operate but players were made to stay together at a central London hotel.
Tennis fans will also be welcomed back after last year's tournament operated at limited numbers due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wimbledon's announcement comes only months after the tennis world number one was booted from the Australian Open over his vaccine status.
The Serbian tennis player made headlines across the world after having his visa cancelled ahead of him playing in the Australian Open.
The Immigration Minister's decision was upheld by the Federal Court of Australia and Djokovic was sent packing.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said Djokovic's presence in Australia could stoke anti-vaccination sentiments in Australia, which led to his final decision to give the boot to the 34-year-old tennis legend.
The Serbian player, who claims to have had Covid-19 twice, has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
This ties him with Switzerland's Roger Federer for the second-most singles titles ever won by a male player, after Rafael Nadal, who won his 21st title at this year's Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic criticises Wimbledon for excluding Russian and Belarusian players from competing.— James Melville (@JamesMelville) April 23, 2022
“I cannot support the Wimbledon decision. It is crazy. It's not the athletes' fault. When politics interferes with sport, it usually doesn't turn out well.”pic.twitter.com/S1b3knwpFu
Russian and Belarusian players have been banned from entering the 2022 Wimbledon tournament following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
As well as its ban on players, the SW19 grand slam will not accept any accreditation requests from Russian media.
AELTC chairman Ian Hewitt said that their decision aimed to limit Russia’s global influence.
“The UK government has set out directional guidance for sporting bodies and events in the UK, with the specific aim of limiting Russia’s influence,” he told the Guardian.
Wimbledon will take place from 27 June to 10 July.