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Wimbledon Drops COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate, Novak Djokovic Eligible to Compete

Novak Djokovic will be eligible to defend his Wimbledon title after event organizers at the All England Club said players will not need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to compete at the 2022 tournament.

In a press conference Tuesday, All England Club CEO Sally Bolton said that while vaccinations are encouraged, unvaccinated players can compete and will not need to quarantine upon arrival in England for the tournament, which begins June 27.

“The requirements set up do not include mandatory vaccination,” Bolton said, per ESPN. “It will not be a condition of entry for the championships this year.”

Djokovic, a 20-time Grand Slam winner and defending champion at Wimbledon, missed the Australian Open in January after being deported from the country because he had not received a COVID-19 vaccination. He also missed tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami because he couldn’t travel to the United States due to his unvaccinated status.

Despite his absence from the high-profile events, Djokovic has begun to ramp back up in recent weeks, playing in ATP tournaments in Dubai, Monaco and his native Serbia. French Open tournament director Amélie Mauresmo said last month that vaccination status will not prevent players from competing at Roland Garros when the 2022 tournament begins May 22. 

Djokovic, who is the defending champion at the French Open, has also been cleared to play in the Italian Open, a clay court tune-up before the second Grand Slam of the year.

Djokovic is currently tied with Roger Federer for the second-most Grand Slam titles for a man. Both players trail Rafael Nadal, who won his 21st championship at the 2022 Australian Open.

More Tennis Coverage: 

• Djokovic Calls Wimbledon’s Ban of Russian Players ‘Crazy’
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• WTA Responds to Wimbledon’s Ban of Russian Players