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Novak Djokovic cleared to defend title at Wimbledon, COVID-19 vaccine not required to compete

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Novak Djokovic, the 2021 Wimbledon champion in men's singles, will get the opportunity to defend his title in 2022.

The All-England Club announced on Tuesday that players competing at Wimbledon in late June do not need to be vaccinated, and unvaccinated players will not need to quarantine before competing.

"The requirements set up do not include mandatory vaccination," All-England Club CEO Sally Bolton said Tuesday via ESPN. "It will not be a condition of entry for the championships this year."

Djokovic's status for Wimbledon was unknown

Until the All-England Club's announcement on Tuesday, it wasn't certain that Djokovic, who is unvaccinated against COVID-19, would be able to compete at Wimbledon — especially in light of what happened at the Australian Open earlier this year.

In January, Djokovic was not allowed to compete at the Australian Open due to his vaccination status. While he was originally given a "medical exemption" to play, his vaccination status (as well as several forms Djokovic claimed his team had filled out incorrectly) prevented him from entering the country. He was held in detention once his plane landed, his visa was cancelled, and he was eventually ordered to leave Australia.

Djokovic, 34, has won 20 Grand Slams. He endeavored to win his 21st and set a new Grand Slam record at the US Open last September, but Daniil Medvedev put a stop to that, defeating him in the final. That loss prevented Djokovic from making history and also completing the Calendar Slam, since he'd won the 2021 Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon. Rafael Nadal ended up setting the Grand Slam record in January when he won the 2022 Australian Open for his 21st Grand Slam win.

While Wimbledon is allowing unvaccinated players to compete without quarantine, they've barred Russian and Belarusian players from the tournament due to Russian president Vladimir Putin's continuing invasion of Ukraine. That means Daniil Medvedev (No. 2 in the world), Andrey Rublev (No. 8), Aryna Sabalenka (No. 4), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (No. 15), and Victoria Azarenka (No. 17) will not be able to play due to nothing but their nationality.

Wimbledon begins June 27.

Tennis - ATP Masters 1000 - Monte Carlo Masters - Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France - April 12, 2022 Serbia's Novak Djokovic in action during his second round match against Spain's Alejandro Davidovich Fokina REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Novak Djokovic will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon even though he's not vaccinated against COVID-19. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)
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