World No 1 Novak Djokovic has maintained his position on Covid vaccinations and stated that he is willing to skip Grand Slam tournaments where jabs are mandatory to compete. The Serb has already missed the first slam of the year in Australia after his visa was rejected and was deported prior to the event. There is now a possibility he will not defend his titles at Roland Garros or Wimbledon this year if he upholds his stance.
Djokovic claims he is not against vaccinations but is reluctant to have the jab because he feels he wants to be in control of ‘what is put in his body’. Missing further Grand Slams may mean he will lose ground on Rafael Nadal who moved ahead of him in the all-time rankings after the Spaniard won his 21st major title at the Australian Open last month. However, Djokovic seems willing to sacrifice his position as potentially the greatest ever player should competitions continue to impose mandatory vaccinations.
The organisers of Wimbledon & the French Open are yet to confirm the entry requirements for their respective tournaments. However it was recently announced that Indian Wells, known as the ‘fifth major’ will require players to be vaccinated. It is therefore a possibility that the US Open in September will have the same procedures. Djokovic could therefore face the unthinkable scenario of finishing the year without playing in a single Grand Slam!
The Wimbledon Champion is due to return to action at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday. The tournament is held in Dubai where you are not required to be vaccinated. Djokovic has won the event five times and will be hoping to he can perform well after a disruptive start to 2022.