Is Novak Djokovic playing at Wimbledon 2022? Will he defend men’s tennis title and Covid vaccine status rules

Novak Djokovic begins campaign to defend Wimbledon 2021 title as tennis tournament allows for unvaccinated status

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Novak Djokovic has had a strong start in his defence of his 2021 Wimbledon title after a first round win against Kwon Soon-woo, defeating the South Korean 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4.

The number one tennis player in the world hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons back in December when he was deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open due to being unvaccinated.

Djokovic had initially been granted a medical exemption to play but this was soon revoked by the Australian and Victorian Government after a lack of evidence was provided concerning the tennis star’s reasons for his unvaccinated status.

Fears began to rise among fans of the Serbian star over whether he would be able to defend any of his titles and continue his reign as number one.

However, it has now been confirmed by the All England Lawn Tennis Club that the 34-year-old winner of 20 Grand Slams will be able to defend his Wimbledon title in 2022.

After the debacle in Australia, Djokovic then missed Indian Wells, a tournament he historically loves and triumphs in, and the Miami Open amongst others due to coronavirus rules.

However, Wimbledon has allowed for unvaccinated players to attend, meaning Djokovic can defend his title and go for a 21 Grand Slam win...

What has Wimbledon said?

The chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis Club spoke recently at a news conference saying: “The requirement set out by the government to enter the UK does not include mandatory vaccination. Therefore, while it is of course encouraged, it is not a condition of entry.”

Why is Novak Djokovic unvaccinated?

When asked in a Facebook interview with the former world number 1 Amelie Mauresmo, Djokovic said that he was “opposed to vaccination” and he “wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel.”

Djokovic celebrates match point after beating Matteo Berrettini in Wimbledon 2021Djokovic celebrates match point after beating Matteo Berrettini in Wimbledon 2021
Djokovic celebrates match point after beating Matteo Berrettini in Wimbledon 2021

He has also said he was “curious about well-being and how we can empower our metabolism to be in the best shape to defend against impostors like COVID-19.

“I am no expert, but I do want to have an option to choose what’s best for my body.”

Soon after the Australian Open extravaganza, Djokovic then did an inclusive interview with the BBC in which he said that missing out on competitions, such as the French Open - the second Grand Slam he is set to miss in 2022- was “the price that I’m willing to pay.”

He spoke of “always being a great student of wellness, wellbeing, health, nutrition” and his decision was partly influenced by the impacts such as changing his diet and sleeping pattern had had on his abilities as an athlete.

He also said he was “keeping my mind open” about potentially being vaccinated in the future “because we are all trying to find collectively, a best possible solution to end Covid.

“I was never against vaccination. I understand that globally, everyone is trying to put a big effort into handling this virus and seeing, hopefully, an end soon to this virus.”

When is Novak Djokovic next playing?

Djokovic will play in the second round in SW19 tomorrow, Wednesday 29 June 2022, against Australia’s Thanasi Kokkinakis.

Kokkinakis beat Kamil Majchrzak 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 7-5 in the first round to set up his second round match against the defending champion.

The pair will play on Centre Court tomorrow and the match will be available to watch on BBC One, Two and iPlayer.

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