Novak Djokovic knows that, as things stand now, Wimbledon will be his last Grand Slam tournament of 2022, because he will not be able to play in the US Open—he has not received any COVID-19 shots and can't enter the US as an unvaccinated foreigner. "That," the 35-year-old from Serbia said Saturday in London, "is an extra motivation to do well here." When Wimbledon starts on Monday, the AP reports, Djokovic will have the honor of opening play at Center Court as the defending champion. He is seeded No. 1 and will be bidding for a fourth consecutive title at the All England Club and seventh overall.
Djokovic began this season tied with Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer at 20 major championships, then the record for a man. But Djokovic's decision not to get vaccinated led to his deportation from Australia before the Australian Open in January. Nadal wound up winning that tournament to get his 21st. Nadal then beat Djokovic this month in the quarterfinals at the French Open en route to earning his 22nd Slam title. "I would love to go to States. But as of today, that's not possible," said Djokovic, who has contracted COVID-19 twice.
He said the same thing about skipping Wimbledon, but the All England Club dropped its mandate in April, per Sports Illustrated. "There is not much I can do anymore," Djokovic added. "I mean, it's really up to the US government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country." A reporter noted that Djokovic still has time to get vaccinated before play begins at Flushing Meadows on Aug. 29, and then asked whether "you've completely closed your mind to that as an option." Djokovic replied with one word: "Yes."
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