Novak Djokovic to Defend Title at 2022 Wimbledon, Won't Need Vaccine to Participate

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVApril 26, 2022

Novak Djokovic of Serbia reacts during their tennis match of the Serbia Open tennis tournament against Laslo Djere of Serbia in Belgrade, Serbia, Wednesday, April 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic

Novak Djokovic will not be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in order to compete at Wimbledon in June.

According to ESPN's Tom Hamilton, the All England Club announced Tuesday that players do not have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to take part in the 2022 Wimbledon tournament in London.

Djokovic, who is the reigning Wimbledon champion, was not permitted to play in the Australian Open earlier this year due to being unvaccinated.

The 34-year-old was involved in a bizarre saga in Australia, as he was initially granted an exemption to play in the tournament after arguing that he was immune to the virus after testing positive for COVID-19 shortly before the tournament.

The Australian border authority rejected the exemption and canceled Djokovic's visa, however. After Djokovic was forced to quarantine at an immigration hotel, a hearing determined that he could not take part in the Australian Open.

Djokovic returned to action this month as part of the clay-court season in anticipation of the French Open, which will begin next month and also seems set to allow unvaccinated players to play.

Despite missing time, Djokovic is still the No. 1 player in the world in the ATP rankings, and he is considered a top contender to win both the French Open and Wimbledon.

Last year, Djokovic won each of the first three Grand Slams before falling to Daniil Medvedev in the finals of the U.S. Open.

With 20 career Grand Slam singles titles to his credit, the Serbian star is joint-second alongside Roger Federer behind Rafael Nadal's 21 on the all-time list.

Nadal will undoubtedly be Djokovic's top competition at the French Open, but Djoker figures to be a heavy favorite at Wimbledon.

Nole is a six-time Wimbledon champion, and he is technically the three-time reigning champion, having won it in 2018, 2019 and 2021. Wimbledon was not held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This summer, Djokovic will look to become the first men's player to win four consecutive Wimbledon titles since Roger Federer won five in a row from 2003 through 2007.