Novak Djokovic news: World No 1 will be allowed to play at Wimbledon despite vaccination stance
Novak Djokovic is unlikely to be refused permission to play at Wimbledon with All England Club committee member Tim Henman saying they will follow the guidelines from the UK government.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner was unable to defend his Australian Open title as he was deported from the country after Immigration Minister Alex Hawke used his personal powers to cancel his visa on grounds that he could stoke anti-vaccination sentiment.
Djokovic finally broke his silence in a wide-ranging BBC interview on Tuesday and admitted that he is unlikely to change his stance and get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
He admitted that he would be willing to miss the French Open and Wimbledon, stating: “Yes, that is the price that I’m willing to pay.”
However, he is likely to play at Wimbledon as Henman confirmed that the All England Club they will follow government rules, which states that foreign travellers don’t have to be vaccinated.
When asked on BBC Radio 4 if he thought Djokovic’s participation at Wimbledon was in doubt, he replied: “I don’t think so.
“To get into the UK at the moment, those are the guidelines the Championship will be following at this stage. At this moment in time [rules about participation in the tournament are] going to be government-led.”
Djokovic was adamant during the interview that he was not anti-vaccination, but “always supported the freedom to choose what you put in your body”.
Many believe that by sticking to his guns it will impact his chances of finishing his career with the most Grand Slam titles, but Henman says his decision not to get vaccinated “speaks volumes of his courage”.
“I do understand his concerns,” he said. “I would reiterate it is absolutely his prerogative to have the vaccine or not. As a former player and a tennis fan, it was probably not what I wanted to hear in that interview, but probably what I expected. As he freely admitted, he is going to be severely restricted as to where he can travel to and therefore play without being vaccinated.
“By taking himself out of the chance to compete in Grand Slams he is certainly jeopardising his chances of being the greatest male player of all time and I think that speaks volumes of his courage, conviction and belief that this is what is best for him. You would have thought that very little is going to sway his opinion.”
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