Priorities, right? Let’s ban all Russian and Belaruisan athletes who are blameless, even if they’ve spoken out on national television against soulless Vladimir Putin in Russia’s brutal ongoing war against Ukraine. But unvaccinated Novak Djokovic is allowed to compete at Wimbledon without getting a jab in his arm, a quarantine period or regular testing for the disease that’s 6.22 million people worldwide?
That’s astonishingly correct, as the All England Club announced on Tuesday that all unvaccinated players will be allowed to compete at Wimbledon without restrictions for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Djokovic wasn’t allowed to play at the year’s first major, the Australian Open, because of his lack of being vaccinated. He’s currently allowed at the next major, the French Open.
A victory at Roland Garros would tie Djokovic with Rafael Nadal for most men’s singles Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, 21, and pull him one ahead of fellow rival Roger Federer. Djokovic won last year’s Wimbledon title and a repeat triumph this summer would be his seventh championship at tennis’ signature event.
Djokovic, still the reigning world men’s singles No. 1 player, has a long-standing disdain for getting the vaccine and has had to sit out of non-major tournaments taking place in the United States over the last month because of his refusal to get a jab in his arm. The last major Djokovic competed in was the 2021 US Open, where he lost in the final to Daniil Medvedev, the ATP’s current No. 2. Medvedev is Russian and won’t play at Wimbledon.
All Wimbledon matches will take place outside and with the competitors mostly more than six feet apart, where the disease is harder to spread, but that’s not reason to allow Djokovic entry into the tournament. Other than a lack of star power, what good reason could there be to let Djokovic play in the event when coronavirus cases are on the rise worldwide? The Serbian’s shortcomings about not getting a simple vaccine can’t be overlooked. It’s clear the organizers are primarily concerned with lining their pockets.
Both decisions of inclusion the All England Club have made over the last week are wrong, with a complete lack of empathy coming from the event’s organizers on each occasion. They’re now stooping to a new low for the standard of Wimbledon entry, as rankings clearly aren’t the best determination anymore. Some of the vaccinated players who’ve spoken out against Russia’s needless invasion of Ukraine can’t play because of their specific nationality? Djokovic enters the draw as the tournament favorite despite being boastful about not taking the vaccine? How on Earth does that make sense?
Djokovic did call the All England Club “crazy” for its ban on Russian and Belarusian players, who all will be allowed to compete at the French Open weeks beforehand. Guess it takes one wacko to recognize his definition of another. Not taking a widely available vaccine, especially when Djokovic will interact maskless with so many during his stay in London, is beyond reckless and downright irresponsible. The U.S. Open’s organizers have yet to make a decision on either inclusion issue. Let’s hope they don’t fuck it up like the All England Club is doing.