| 11.6°C Dublin

decision Wimbledon to let Novak Djokovic defend his title despite Serb’s refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19

Close

Novak Djokovic is remaining defiant. Photo: PA

Novak Djokovic is remaining defiant. Photo: PA

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Italy's Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates with the trophy after winning his final match against Italy's Matteo Berrettini REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

/

Novak Djokovic is remaining defiant. Photo: PA

Wimbledon is set to allow Novak Djokovic to defend his title despite his refusal to be vaccinated against coronavirus.

The Serbian declared yesterday he would rather sacrifice his title than be jabbed but Tim Henman, a member of the board of the All England Club, has said he does not foresee any ban being imposed on Djokovic.

In his first interview since being thrown out of Australia in a saga that sparked a major diplomatic row, Djokovic told the BBC: “That is the price I am willing to pay” when asked if he would accept missing Grand Slams instead of changing his stance on the vaccine.

In response, Henman said Wimbledon was planning to follow Government rules that require visitors to England to be tested before and after arrival but not to quarantine or be vaccinated.

“To get into the UK at the moment, those are the guidelines the championship will be following at this stage,” he said. “At this moment in time, it is going to be government-led.”

Djokovic is now the only member of the men’s top 100 not to have been vaccinated, something that risks wrecking his bid to end his career as statistically the greatest player ever.

His refusal to be jabbed ultimately cost him the chance to win a record 21st Grand Slam at the Australian Open, a decision compounded by Rafael Nadal doing just that.

Indeed, he has been under threat of a Grand Slam exile after being told last month he would need to be vaccinated to defend his French Open title, with Wimbledon giving no guarantees he would be allowed to play there this summer. He also faces being banned from the US Open, with the United States having joined Australia in imposing a policy of mandatory vaccinations on foreign visitors.

Djokovic said he hoped countries’ entry requirements would be relaxed sufficiently to allow him to play “for many more years”. The world No 1 also denied being an anti-vaxxer and said he was “keeping my mind open” about being jabbed in the future.

“I was never against vaccination, but I’ve always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body,” said Djokovic, who notoriously stated in April 2020 that he was “opposed to vaccination”.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]


Top Videos





Available now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcasts.

Privacy