What to know ahead of Wimbledon: Djokovic won’t get vaccine

Jun 25, 2022, 12:15 AM | Updated: 12:17 pm
Novak Djokovic during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Wimbledon Championship at the All Englan...

Novak Djokovic during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Wimbledon Championship at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London, Saturday, June 25, 2022. (John Walton/PA via AP)

(John Walton/PA via AP)

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — 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 U.S. Open — he has not received any COVID-19 shots and can’t enter the United States as an unvaccinated foreigner.

“That,” the 35-year-old from Serbia said Saturday at the All England Club, “is an extra motivation to do well here.”

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 — and Nadal wound up winning that tournament to get his 21st.

Nadal then beat Djokovic in the quarterfinals at the French Open en route to earning his 22nd Slam title this month.

When Wimbledon starts on Monday, Djokovic will have the honor of opening play at Centre 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.

“Hopefully I can have a very good tournament, as I have done in the last three editions. Then I’ll just have to wait and see. I would love to go to States. But as of today, that’s not possible,” said Djokovic, who has come down with COVID-19 twice. “There is not much I can do anymore. I mean, it’s really up to the U.S. government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country.”

A reporter noted that Djokovic does still have time to get vaccinated before play begins at Flushing Meadows on Aug. 29, and then asked him whether “you’ve completely closed your mind to that as an option.”

Djokovic replied with one word: “Yes.”


Iga Swiatek is No. 1 in the WTA rankings, seeded No. 1 at Wimbledon, coming off a French Open championship and riding a 35-match winning streak heading into her opening match Tuesday at Centre Court.

She also won the junior title at the All England Club in 2018.

And yet Swiatek is quite clear about knowing that her career record in the main draw at the grass-court Grand Slam tournament is merely 3-2.

“Honestly I still feel like I need to figure out grass. Last year, for sure, it was that kind of tournament where I didn’t know what to expect. Then match by match, I realized maybe I can do more and more,” said Swiatek, a 21-year-old from Poland whose Wimbledon debut in 2019 ended in the first round before she got to the fourth round in 2021.

“I’m just trying to stay open-minded and kind of take positives from the situation and realize that I can play without any expectations,” she said. “I have so much … successes this season that I don’t have to kind of show everybody that I need to play well in every tournament because it’s tennis. We have ups and downs. So I try to play without expectations and just see what this tournament brings me.”


Nadal said after winning the French Open thanks to pain-killing injections to numb the chronic pain in his left foot that he wasn’t sure whether he would be able to show up at Wimbledon.

Well, here he is, halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam for the first time, and he said Saturday that some new treatments he had after leaving Roland Garros did help calm the nerve that’s been flaring up — even if he pointed out that they didn’t “fix the injury.”

“First of all, I can walk normally most of the days, almost every single day. That’s, for me, the main issue,” Nadal said. “When I wake up, I don’t have this pain that I was having for the last year and a half. So quite happy about that.”

He said he’s been able to practice better over the last two weeks, without facing “these terrible days that I can’t move at all.”

The two-time Wimbledon champion, whose first match will be Tuesday, did caution: “I can’t be super happy, because I don’t know what can happen.”


Changes for the tournament this year include a shift to first-to-10-points, win-by-two tiebreakers at 6-all in the third set of women’s matches and fifth set of men’s matches; the first time play is planned for the middle Sunday, which traditionally has been a day off; a return to full capacity at all courts and the return of the queue for folks who want to camp out in order to try to get tickets, two years after the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of Wimbledon entirely, and one year after the All England Club limited crowd sizes and temporarily eliminated the queue.


More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Chicago Cubs' Christopher Morel, right, celebrates with Ian Happ after hitting a two-run home run d...
Associated Press

Morel, Wisdom homer, Cubs top Brewers for 4th straight win

CHICAGO (AP) — Rookie Christopher Morel and Patrick Wisdom each hit a two-run homer and the Chicago Cubs topped the Milwaukee Brewers 8-7 on Friday for their fourth straight win. Morel’s drive down the left-field line in the sixth inning put the Cubs ahead for good in a seesaw game on a warm day with […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer stands on the field before an NFL football game ...
Associated Press

Urban Meyer back on Fox’s “Big Noon Saturday” post-NFL

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Urban Meyer is returning to Fox’s “Big Noon Saturday” college football pregame show after his NFL coaching career lasted less than one full season. Fox announced Friday that Meyer would rejoin the show that he was part of in its first two seasons. After resigning as Ohio State’s coach after the […]
15 hours ago
Li Li Leung, President and CEO of USA Gymnastics, speaks to the fans during the 2022 U.S. Gymnastic...
Associated Press

Skepticism and hope as USA Gymnastics enters post-Nassar era

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The blue and red flames of the new logo USA Gymnastics unveiled this week are designed to symbolize rebirth. They might as well double as a metaphor for the self-inflicted damage the organization has endured for the better part of a decade. The Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal shook the sport’s […]
15 hours ago
Vanessa Bryant, the widow of Kobe Bryant, leaves a federal courthouse in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Au...
Associated Press

Kobe Bryant’s widow says crash photos turned grief to horror

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Vanessa Bryant testified Friday that she was only beginning to grieve the loss of her husband, basketball star Kobe Bryant, and their 13-year-old daughter Gianna when she was faced with the fresh horror of learning that sheriff’s deputies and firefighters had shot and shared photos of their bodies at the site […]
15 hours ago
FILE -Mississippi linebacker Luke Knox (16) celebrates a fumble recovery against Arkansas during an...
Associated Press

At FIU, the process of grieving Luke Knox is just beginning

MIAMI (AP) — Practice ended at Florida International on a steamy Friday morning, and coach Mike MacIntyre gathered the team to go over the plan for the rest of the day. When he was finished, there was one last order of business. “Let’s have a prayer,” MacIntyre said. “A prayer for Luke’s family.” Football resumed […]
15 hours ago
Jimmie Johnson stands near his car during qualifying for an IndyCar Series auto race, Saturday, Jul...
Associated Press

Johnson seeks to close oval schedule with 1st IndyCar win

MADISON, Ill. (AP) — The focus in IndyCar is clearly on the seven-driver championship race as it heads into the final oval race of the season. But one more round racetrack also means a chance for Jimmie Johnson to grab his first series victory. The seven-time NASCAR champion added the ovals to his schedule this […]
15 hours ago
What to know ahead of Wimbledon: Djokovic won’t get vaccine