Novak Djokovic free to defend Wimbledon title after Covid restrictions lifted

Novak Djokovic is free to defend his Wimbledon title

Novak Djokovic is free to defend his Wimbledon title (Photo: Getty)

Novak Djokovic is allowed to defend his Wimbledon title after All England Club officials confirmed that players do not need to be vaccinated to take part in the tournament this summer.

The world number one, who defeated Matteo Berrettini to win his sixth Wimbledon crown last year, has only played three tournaments in 2022 due to entry restrictions imposed by various countries, including his expulsion from Australia.

With most nations loosening their rules around the virus, however, Djokovic should be free to play a full program through the clay and grass court, even though he is currently still unable to enter the United States.

Novak Djokovic was barred from competing at the Australian Open and was sent off

Novak Djokovic was ruled out of the Australian Open and deported (Photo: Getty)

Speaking at Wimbledon’s spring briefing, CEO Sally Bolton said: ‘As you will be aware, the requirements set by the government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccination, and while it is obviously encouraged, it will not be a conditional entry to compete in the championships this year. ‘

Last year’s Covid-related restrictions, which included reduced crowds for most of the tournament and strict conditions imposed on players, will all be lifted.
Bolton said: ‘We plan to return to a normal championship this year. So we do not intend to implement any of the Covid-19 measures that we saw last year in any significant way.

“But of course we will keep it on our radar if we have to take further steps as we continue to engage with DCMS, public health authorities and with other sports.

Daniil Medvedev has been barred from competing with his fellow Russians at this summer’s Wimbledon (Photo: Getty)

‘But that means players will be able to return to their own choice of accommodation. We will see full capacity for the entire event. And we are absolutely thrilled to welcome the wider tennis family back to Wimbledon this year. ‘

The British government, meanwhile, left Wimbledon with ‘no viable alternative’ other than to exclude Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s championships, President Ian Hewitt told the All England Club’s spring briefing.

Following last week’s announcement that Wimbledon and previous grassroots events would be the first individual tennis tournaments where players from the two countries went out, Hewitt said the club was left with only two options – a direct ban or forcing players to to sign statements of condemnation. the invasion of Ukraine.

He said: ‘The UK Government has set out guidelines for sporting organizations and events in the UK with the specific purpose of limiting Russia’s influence.

“After lengthy and thorough deliberations, we came to two firm conclusions. First, even if we were to accept entries from Russian and Belarusian players with written statements, we would risk their success or participation being used to benefit the Russian regime’s propaganda machine, which we could not accept.

‘Secondly, we have a duty to ensure that no actions we take endanger players or their families. We understand and deeply regret the impact this decision will have on all the people affected.

‘But we believe we have made the most responsible decision according to the circumstances, and there is no viable alternative within the framework of the Government’s position to the decision we have made in this truly unusual and tragic situation.’

READ MORE: Wimbledon ban on Russian players described as ‘complete discrimination’ by Andrey Rublev

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