Novak Djokovic will be able to defend his Wimbledon title this year as players will not need to be vaccinated against coronavirus to feature in the tournament.

World number one Djokovic was unable to compete in the 2022 Australian Open after he was deported from the country in January.

The Australian government cancelled the Serbian's visa on "health and good order" grounds and he failed with an attempt to overturn that decision in court.

Djokovic will be able to play in the grass-court grand slam at the All England Club, though, due to a lack of COVID-19 restrictions in the United Kingdom.

All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chief executive Sally Bolton said during a media briefing on Tuesday: "As you will be aware, the requirements set up by the government to enter the UK do not include mandatory vaccinations.

"Therefore, whilst of course it is encouraged, it will not be a condition of entry in order to compete in the Championships this year."

Djokovic can also play in the French Open following the easing of restrictions.

There will be no Russian or Belarusian players when Wimbledon is staged from June 27 to July 10 at SW19 due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

All England Club chairman Ian Hewitt says the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from Wimbledon was the "most responsible decision possible in the circumstances."

Organisers of the grass-court grand slam confirmed this month that players from both nations would be barred from featuring in the tournament due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The decision was met by a significant backlash, with world number eight Andrey Rublev describing the decision as "discrimination" and Novak Djokovic stating he could not support it.

But speaking at the 2022 Wimbledon media briefing, Hewitt sought to clarify the process by which the decision was made.

"After lengthy and careful consideration we came to two firm conclusions that have formed the basis for our decision," he told reporters.

"First, even if we were to accept entries from Russia and Belarusian players with written declarations we would risk their success or participation at Wimbledon being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime which we could not accept.

"Second, we have a duty to ensure that no actions we take should put the safety of players or their families at risk."

All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chief executive Sally Bolton shed further light on the process of making such an "an immensely difficult decision." 

"We recognise that whatever decision we took would be setting a precedent," she added.

"We made our judgement in the scale of the response to an international war, the consequences of which reach far wider than the sport of tennis.

"We appreciate that this is an immensely difficult decision, and that people have different views which we respect and understand.

"We are deeply regretful of the impact that this will have on every single player who is affected.

"We are in ongoing dialogue with the players, with the tours, with the ITF and with our fellow grand slams, and will continue to work with them over the coming weeks.

"We believe that this decision is the only viable option for Wimbledon."

Wimbledon also confirmed that players who have not received a coronavirus vaccination will be allowed to enter the tournament. 

Djokovic hit the headlines when he was unable to play in the Australian Open this year after being deported due to his vaccination status.

Novak Djokovic is "progressing slowly but surely" ahead of the French Open as the world number one took positives from his run to the Serbia Open final.

The Serbian remains without an ATP Tour title this season after losing 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 to Andrey Rublev on home clay in Belgrade on Sunday.

It has been a disrupted 2022 for Djokovic, having been prevented from playing the Australian Open due to his unvaccinated status, a factor which also meant he was barred from competing in tournaments in the United States last month.

He only made it as far as the quarter-finals of the Dubai Championships in his first tournament of the year in February and suffered a surprise loss to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in the last 32 of the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic showed signs of improvement in Serbia, though, as he defeated Laslo Djere, Miomir Kecmanovic and Karen Khachanov en route to reaching the final.

Rublev proved a step too far for Djokovic, who faded badly in the deciding set against an opponent aged 10 years younger, but the 34-year-old is remaining upbeat ahead of next month's French Open.

"Things are progressing slowly but surely," he said. "Paris is the big goal and hopefully by Paris I'll be ready.

"I have to look at the positives – playing the final in front of my home crowd, it was unfortunate that in the third set I ran out of gas and couldn't deliver more of a fight.

"After four three-set battles I can say that I am tired but also pleased that I managed to win the matches prior to this one.

"I think that will serve me for the continuation of the clay-court season."

Djokovic is set to return to action at the Madrid Masters in a little over a week's time, an event he enters as top seed.

Novak Djokovic ran out of puff in front of his adoring Belgrade public and suffered a third-set drubbing as he lost to Andrey Rublev in the Serbia Open final.

The world number one was beaten 6-2 6-7 (4-7) 6-0 by the Russian second seed, who drove a forehand past Djokovic on his third championship point.

Djokovic was seeking a third triumph at this tournament, and an 87th tour-level title of his career, but 24-year-old Rublev came out on top, scooping his third trophy of the year after previous successes in Dubai and Marseille.

Having been barred from playing in Australia and the United States in the early stages of the season, due to being unvaccinated against COVID-19, Djokovic was playing just his third tournament of the year.

He lost to Jiri Vesely in the Dubai quarter-finals and to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his clay campaign opener in Monte Carlo, and on home clay he won three matches from a set in arrears but could not make it four in a row.

Djokovic had worked hard to get back on level terms in Sunday's final after making a slow start, and he had two break points immediately in the third set.

Rublev saved both, the second with an audacious drop shot, on his way to taking the game, and he streaked through the rest of the decider.

This was just the second meeting on the ATP Tour between Djokovic and world number eight Rublev, with Djokovic having previously enjoyed a crushing hard court win at the ATP Finals in Turin last November.

Rublev, addressing Djokovic, said: "It's a big honour to play against you, to share a court for the second time.

"I hope to see you for many years, and we will have more battles which I would like.

"I feel so great here in Belgrade. It's a really nice city. It reminds me of a small Moscow. I really enjoy my time here and to win a title here I feel double special."

Novak Djokovic will chase the first title of his chaotic season when he tackles Andrey Rublev in the Serbia Open final on Sunday.

Playing in his home city of Belgrade, world number one Djokovic will be expected by many to carry off the trophy for a third time.

He scored a 4-6 6-1 6-2 victory over Russian Karen Khachanov in the first of Saturday's semi-finals.

Djokovic has made a habit of losing opening sets this week, rebounding from early deficits to beat fellow Serbians Laslo Dere and Miomir Kecmanovic on his way through to the last four, where it happened again.

The 34-year-old was able to recover and improve his career win-loss record to 13-2 at the clay-court tournament.

Djokovic, who has been prevented from playing events in Australia and the United States this year after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, believes he is gradually building up form and match fitness.

He said in an on-court interview: "I'm already feeling quite comfortable on the courts. I think the three matches that went all three sets gave me enough of the match play.

"I was running enough in order to be at my optimum best. I don't think the lack of matches now plays a role. Maybe it was the case three or four days ago, not today.

"But in terms of the audience, of course that's going to be a huge motivation boost for me, so I'm going to enjoy the crowd's support as much as I can and hopefully bring the title to Serbia."

Rublev, another Russian, beat Italian Fabio Fognini 6-2 6-2 in the second semi-final, saying it had been his best performance of the week.

The world number eight is relishing playing Djokovic, saying: "It's going to be fun. Tomorrow I have nothing to lose, I can go out and enjoy it. He plays at home, so it will be his moment. The best I can do is fight and try to do my best."

Novak Djokovic again overcame the challenge of a fellow home favourite to advance to the semi-finals at the Serbia Open on Thursday. 

The world number one had battled from a set down against Laslo Djere 24 hours earlier and was once more made to work hard for his win versus Miomir Kecmanovic. 

The seventh seed took the opener without facing a break point and led early in the second set too. 

But Kecmanovic could not hold off Djokovic, who recovered to win 4-6 6-3 6-3 and reach the last four for the fourth time in five campaigns in Belgrade. 

After two victories in two nights against Serbians for the two-time winner, Djokovic is on a 10-0 run in matches with his compatriots and 27-4 all-time. 

The 20-time grand slam champion also has a 36-6 record in Serbia and has particularly enjoyed the "strange" opportunity to face his countrymen in front of a home crowd. 

"It's a very strange feeling, sharing the court with your compatriots," he said. "Obviously the crowd was phenomenal for both players in yesterday's match and today's. 

"They're very rare occasions when I'm able to play at home and experience this atmosphere, so I'm trying to enjoy every single moment." 

Djokovic is the last Serbian remaining in the tournament, though, and takes on third seed Karen Khachanov – a winner against Thiago Monteiro – in the semis. 

There remain two quarter-finals to play on Friday, as Andrey Rublev faces Taro Daniel while Fabio Fognini welcomes the challenge of Oscar Otte. 

Meanwhile, there were only two matches completed at the Barcelona Open due to rain, but Ilya Ivashka ensured fans were rewarded for their patience as he took Stefanos Tsitsipas the distance. 

Ivashka eventually went down 6-1 4-6 6-2 to the top seed in a heavily delayed second-round contest. 

Novak Djokovic "cannot support" Wimbledon's decision to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from competition this year.

The All-England Club moved to suspend players from the two nations from entering this year's grand slam event, amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The decision is the latest major sporting sanction against the two nations, with Russia barred from World Cup qualification for Qatar 2022 and the Formula One Russian Grand Prix cancelled.

It has been met with considerable pushback, however, with the ATP blasting the decision as "unfair".

Now Djokovic has come out against it too, arguing it is not the fault of the players, who are being punished for actions beyond their control.

"I will always be the first one to condemn the war," said Djokovic, who is currently in action on home soil in the Serbia Open. "As a child of war, I know what kind of emotional trauma a war leaves.

"Us in Serbia, we know what was happening here in 1999. Ordinary people always suffer – we've had lots of wars in the Balkans.

"That being said, I cannot support the Wimbledon decision. It's not the athletes' fault. When politics interfere with sport, it usually doesn't turn out well."

Eighteen-time grand slam winner Martina Navratilova also pushed back against the move in an interview on LBC Radio.

"The Russian and Belarusian players, some have even expressed, vocalised, their opposition to the war," she added.

"The only option therefore now for them to play would be to leave their country.

"That’s something that I had to do in 1975, because of a totalitarian regime and now we are asking them to do the same, because of politics, because of optics.

"I understand the banning of teams, of course, representing the countries, but on an individual level, I just think it's wrong."

Novak Djokovic edged into the quarter-finals of the Serbia Open by defeating Laslo Djere 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) in a tense encounter in Belgrade. 

World number one Djokovic was in danger of losing three straight ATP Tour matches for the first time in over four years when he surrendered the opening set to his fellow Serbian in front of an adoring crowd. 

The 20-time grand slam winner was two points away from defeat in the second-set tie-break but managed to force a decider by converting set point at the sixth attempt.

And Djokovic needed another tie-break to get the job done, with Djere paying the price for a series of errors as he missed out on a chance to claim a famous victory. 

Next up for Djokovic, who bounced back from successive defeats to Jiri Vesely and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Dubai and Monte Carlo respectively, is Miomir Kecmanovic. 

Seventh seed Kecmanovic faced little resistance from John Millman as he claimed a 6-4 7-6 (7-5) success, while Karen Khachanov was granted a walkover against Roman Safiullin. 

At the Barcelona Open, Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the third round courtesy of a 6-1 2-6 6-2 victory over Kwon Soon-woo. 

He will face Jaume Munar for a place in the quarter-finals following the wildcard's 6-1 6-4 triumph against ninth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili. 

Felix Auger-Aliassime was taken the distance by Carlos Taberner but eventually closed out a 6-1 3-6 6-4 success. His reward is a meeting with Frances Tiafoe, who beat Hugo Dellien 7-6 (7-3) 6-1. 

Lloyd Harris defeated Albert Ramos Vinolas 6-3 6-4, while Alex De Minaur, Emil Ruusuvuori, Pablo Carreno-Busta and Marton Fucsovics also advanced. 

Inclement weather brought a halt to top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas' meeting with Ilya Ivashka after just one game, while Grigor Dimitrov was up a break in the third set of a clash with Federico Coria.

World number one Novak Djokovic explained that he could just not get up to the level of sharpness required in his shock defeat at the Monte Carlo Masters.

Djokovic slumped out in the second round on Tuesday when he lost 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 to world number 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

The Serbian's status as an unvaccinated player has limited his ability to compete on the ATP Tour this year and he has played in just one tournament so far, getting to the quarter-finals in Dubai. 

Yet his preparations for the French Open, which starts at the end of next month, hardly got off to a good start as he made 51 unforced errors in what was still, despite his rustiness, a surprise defeat.

"I didn't like the way I felt physically in the third. I just ran out of the gas completely," Djokovic told the media. 

"Just couldn't really stay in the rally with him. I mean, if you can't stay in the rally, not feeling your legs on the clay, it's mission impossible.

"I'm going to look with my team into reasons why that was the case and go back to the drawing board. Hopefully next week will be better in Belgrade."

Though Djokovic has won twice in Monte Carlo, it has not been a happy hunting ground for him in recent years. He has not advanced past the quarter-final stage since 2015.

He added: "It's going to take some time for me to really feel my best on the clay.

"That's historically always been the case. [I have] never played very well in the opening tournaments of the clay season.

"But it's okay. Obviously it is what it is. I have to accept the defeat and keep working."

While unhappy with his own performance, Djokovic had nothing but praise for his opponent. 

"I would like to congratulate Alejandro. He was the better player," Djokovic said. "He managed to find a better rhythm I think in the first two sets. I was hanging on the ropes the entire match. I was really chasing the result constantly.

"I always believed that I could come back and win the match, and I stayed there even though a lot of things were against me in terms of how I felt on the court. Game-wise, physically I was just far from my best.

"I expected this match to be [a] really tough match, [a] physical battle, and that's what it was. Unfortunately I'm on the shorter end of the stick, and my week ends here."

Djokovic's defeat also means a mouthwatering contest with teenager sensation Carlos Alcaraz, who he might have met in the quarter-finals, will not be taking place.

Novak Djokovic suffered a stunning defeat in his first ATP Tour match since February, the world number one losing in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters to Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

Djokovic's status as an unvaccinated player has limited his ability to compete on the tour this year. He missed the Australian Open in January after a saga surrounding his visa eventually resulted in his deportation on public health grounds, while laws around vaccination against COVID-19 in the United States prevented him from playing at Indian Wells and Miami.

Despite his inactivity, the Serbian - whose sole appearance on tour this year came during a run to the quarter-finals in Dubai - was expected to prevail on the clay against his Spanish opponent after receiving a bye in the first round.

But there were evident signs of rust in a mistake-riddled display against the world number 46, who remarkably emerged victorious to set up a meeting with either Dan Evans or David Goffin.

The tide looked to have turned in the second set tie-break, when an exquisite whipped forehand from Djokovic sent the match to a decider.

However, Djokovic, who committed 51 unforced errors, immediately surrendered the momentum by dropping serve in the first game of the third and he was broken twice more as Davidovich Fokina powered to a 6-3 6-7 (5-7) 6-1 victory in just under three hours.

"I knew that Nole hasn't had that confidence because he didn't play a lot," Davidovich Fokina said.

"This win is so special for me. I look at him every tournament. Here in Monte Carlo, full people [capacity], against the number one, I enjoy every moment."

Earlier, Evans saw off Benjamin Bonzi while Goffin, fresh off his triumph in Marrakech, came through against Jiri Lehecka to set up their second-round meeting.

Tenth seed Taylor Fritz defeated Monegasque wild card Lucas Catarina in three sets and 16th seed Lorenzo Sonego saw off Ilya Ivashka in straight sets. Laslo Djere, a semi-finalist in Marrakech, also progressed to the second round.

Carlos Alcaraz is hopeful of meeting Novak Djokovic in the Monte-Carlo Masters, but his first focus is on a second-round tie with Sebastian Korda. 

Alcaraz is one of the brightest prospects on the ATP Tour, with the 18-year-old Spaniard having won his first Masters title at the Miami Open and become the youngest men's champion of that tournament. 

That was Alcaraz's second title of 2022 and third overall. He is now up to 11th in the ATP world rankings. 

Seeded eighth, Alcaraz has been handed a bye to the second round but is in the same quarter of the draw as world number one Djokovic, who has triumphed twice in Monte Carlo. 

Alcaraz, though, is making sure not to get ahead of himself and think too much about a maiden meeting with Djokovic, with American Korda – who defeated Botic van de Zandschulp in his first-round match – first up. 

"I don't want to be in a rush, I just focus on the first [match]," Alcaraz told reporters ahead of what is a rematch of the Next Gen ATP Finals championship match which he won in straight sets. 

"Obviously, it would be a great match against Novak. 

"Playing against the number one player in the world [would be] amazing for me, but I hope to play well in the first [matches] and hope to meet him in the quarter-finals." 

Alcaraz seems set to have a future at the very top of the game but is insisting everything must be taken step by step. 

"Sometimes it is difficult, but I am trying to make it easy," he said. 

"Doing everything for the first time, I am trying my best, trying to manage the nerves of the first time well." 

Taylor Fritz, who won a Masters title at Indian Wells earlier this year, could also be standing in the way of Alcaraz and the quarter-finals, should the American defeat wildcard Lucas Catarina and Marin Cilic. 

Djokovic, on the other hand, faces Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in his first match. 

Novak Djokovic could face Carlos Alcaraz for the first time after the Monte Carlo Masters draw put the world number one and the teenage revelation on course to clash in the quarter-finals.

The draw for the tournament that begins on Sunday served up the appetising prospect of a tussle between the reigning French Open champion and a player many expect to enjoy huge Roland Garros success.

Alcaraz, 18, last week became the youngest men's champion at the Miami Open, and he has soared to number 11 in the ATP rankings after sitting outside the top 100 at this time 12 months ago.

He won an ATP 250 tournament on clay last year in Umag, and an ATP 500 on the surface in Rio de Janeiro in February, but earning a Masters 1000 hard court title in Miami highlighted the scale of Alcaraz's rapid improvement.

Both he and Djokovic will receive a first-round bye in Monte Carlo, and they must then win twice to set up a meeting at the last-eight stage.

Alcaraz may have to beat the in-form Indian Wells champion Taylor Fritz in the third round, with Marin Cilic and Sebastian Korda also potential early opponents for the young Spaniard.

Djokovic will not be taking a quarter-final place for granted, either. If he navigates his opening match, the Serbian could face a dicey third-round clash with Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut or the player to whom he lost at the last-16 stage last year, Britain's Dan Evans.

Rafael Nadal is absent after suffering a stress fracture of a rib during his Indian Wells final defeat to Fritz.

Daniil Medvedev missed the chance to return to the top of the rankings as he was beaten by Hubert Hurkacz in the quarter-finals of the Miami Open on Thursday.

Medvedev would have become world number one once again if he had defeated Hurkacz, but the defending champion won 7-6 (9-7) 6-3 on Hard Rock Stadium.

Novak Djokovic will remain the top-ranked male player on the planet thanks to Pole Hurkacz, who levelled his head-to-head record with the Russian at 2-2.

Carlos Alcaraz or Miomir Kecmanovic will do battle with eighth seed Hurkacz, who won 74 per cent of points on his first serve and broke Medvedev's serve three times, for a place in the final.

Hurkacz's win over the top seed was his second against a top-two player, with the first also coming against Medvedev at Wimbledon last year.

"I think the return was crucial. I was able to make a lot of returns and get some free points on my serve, because having rallies with Daniil is fun, but they get long,” Hurkacz said on his on-court interview.

"It is good I was able to get some free points. I have spent a lot of time in Florida, so I am used to the humidity. I think the conditions were in my favour today, so I tried to use them."

 

Novak Djokovic is set to appear at next month's Monte Carlo Masters after his vaccination status left him unable to compete at Indian Wells.

The world number two has been forced to sit out the first Masters event of the year after not meeting the vaccination requirements to enter the United States, having been deported from Australia ahead of January's Australian Open for similar reasons.

Now, a post on the 20-time grand slam champion's official website suggests he will appear on the clay surface in Monaco, where the 34-year-old resides.

Monaco currently allows those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous six months to enter the city-state, with Djokovic claiming to have suffered from the virus in December.

"Novak will open his 2022 clay court season in Monte-Carlo, where he won the Masters 1000 title twice, in 2013 and 2015," the post reads.

The tournament now looks set to be the second to feature Djokovic in 2022 after he lost at the quarter-finals stage of last month's Dubai Tennis Championships.

The Monte Carlo Masters begins on April 10, lasting until April 17, and Djokovic will be looking to make amends after exiting last year's tournament to Dan Evans in the last 16.

Rafael Nadal, who overtook Djokovic for the most men's singles grand slam titles with his January triumph in Australia, holds the record for the most successes in Monaco, winning the tournament on 11 occasions.

 

Meanwhile, with France having loosened its travel restrictions for unvaccinated people this month, Djokovic will now hope to use the Monaco outing as preparation for a first grand slam appearance of the year at Roland Garros.

The Serbian now looks increasingly likely to be permitted to defend his 2021 French Open title in May after travel restrictions had originally cast doubt on his participation.

Novak Djokovic has confirmed he cannot compete at Indian Wells due to not being allowed to enter the United States.

The former world number one was revealed as an automatic qualifier for the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells last month, though uncertainty surrounded his possible participation.

Djokovic was deported from Australia ahead of the Australian Open in January due to not meeting the country's COVID-19 vaccination requirements, with the Serbian choosing not to be jabbed.

After testing positive for – and recovering from – coronavirus the previous month, it was at one stage thought Djokovic might have been allowed entry to Australia on the grounds of having post-virus antibodies.

But he was ultimately ordered to leave the country and it quickly became clear the 34-year-old was likely to run into similar problems down the line.

Djokovic was included in the draw for the upcoming BNP Paribas Open, setting up a second-round clash with David Goffin or Jordan Thompson, and organisers said on Wednesday that talks were ongoing as they looked to determine the superstar's eligibility.

But America's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states all non-US citizens travelling to the country "must be fully vaccinated with the primary series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine", with "only limited exceptions" applying.

Unsurprisingly, Djokovic has not been granted entry.

Confirming his situation, Djokovic tweeted: "While I was automatically listed in BNP Paribas Open and the Miami Open draw, I knew it would be unlikely I'd be able to travel.

"The CDC has confirmed that regulations won't be changing so I won't be able to play in the US. Good luck to those playing in these great tournaments."

Djokovic has lost his place atop the ATP rankings to Daniil Medvedev and his inability to feature at the Australian Open meant Rafael Nadal set a new record for the most grand slam men's singles titles, as the Spaniard claimed his 21st success.

It is unclear whether Djokovic will be able to add to his 20 at Wimbledon or Roland Garros, while it seems he will also miss the US Open unless the CDC changes its regulations in the meantime.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.