For Novak Djokovic, who until a few weeks ago ruled the tennis world in ranking terms, Wimbledon could well prove to be the last Grand Slam he is able to play this season because of his stand against being vaccinated against Covid-19.
As of today (Saturday) I am not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances. I am aware of that and that is an extra motivation to do well here, and hopefully I can have a very good tournament, as I have done in the last three editions. Novak Djokovic
The Serb who has slipped to three in the rankings but remains top seed at The Championships in the absence of Daniil Medvedev (banned) and Alexander Zverev (injured) is preparing to defend his Wimbledon title, which he is scheduled to kick off on Monday against South Korean Kwon Soon-woo on Centre Court at 2.30pm.
His stance against the vaccine has certainly disrupted his season bearing in mind that last year he swept through all the majors bar the US Open and consequently just missed out on a very rare Calendar Grand Slam.
This year he has been deported from Australia on the eve of the first major at Melbourne where his rival Rafa Nadal relieved him of the title at the start of the year.
He was allowed into Paris for the French Open following the country’s relaxation of their entry requirements, only to lose in the quarter finals to Nadal charging through the draw towards his record 14th title at Roland Garros.
The UK having lifted all restrictions, Djokovic was welcomed by Wimbledon but as things stand, the US would not, as all entering the country, must be vaccinated against coronavirus.
That demand effectively rules out Djokovic from the fourth and last major of the year but despite the requirement he has stated he will not be taking the vaccine.
“As of today (Saturday) I am not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances,” Djokovic said. “I am aware of that and that is an extra motivation to do well here, and hopefully I can have a very good tournament, as I have done in the last three editions.
“Then I will just have to wait and see. I would love to go to the States. But as of today, that is not possible.
“There is not much I can do anymore. It is up to the US government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go in to the country.”
When it was pointed out that he could easily overcome the problem by getting vaccinated, he said it wouldn’t be happening.
When asked if he had completely closed his mind to getting vaccinated, he was unequivocal.
“Yes,” he said.