Tennis players who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 will be allowed to participate at this year's Wimbledon Championships, organisers have said.
This clears the way for Novak Djokovic to compete, after the Serb was denied entry to the Australian Open earlier in the year due to his vaccination status.
Djokovic said earlier this year he would be willing to skip tournaments if he requires vaccination, however officials have confirmed that he will not need to do so in order to compete at the grand slam.
Novak Djokovic sparked controversy earlier in the year as he travelled to Australia while unvaccinated, before being denied a place in the Australian Open. Adam Davy
The UK Government left Wimbledon with “no viable alternative” but to ban Russian and Belarusian players from this year’s Championships, chairman Ian Hewitt told the All England Club’s spring briefing.
Expanding on last week’s announcement that Wimbledon and the preceding grass-court events would be the first individual tennis tournaments to bar players from the two countries, Hewitt said the club was left with only two options – an outright ban or forcing players to sign declarations condemning the invasion of Ukraine.
While unvaccinated players will be allowed to compete, Russian and Belarusian stars will be prohibited from taking to the grass. Kirsty O'Connor
He said: “The UK Government has set out directional guidance for sporting bodies and events in the UK with the specific aim of limiting Russia’s influence.
“After lengthy and careful consideration, we came to two firm conclusions. First, even if we were to accept entries from Russian and Belarusian players with written declarations, we would risk their success or participation being used to benefit the propaganda machine of the Russian regime, which we could not accept.
“Second, we have a duty to ensure no actions we take should put players or their families at risk. We understand and deeply regret the impact this decision will have on all the people affected.
“But we believe we have made the most responsible decision possible in the circumstances, and there is no viable alternative within the framework of the government’s position to the decision we have taken in this truly exceptional and tragic situation".
The WTA and ATP have both criticised Wimbledon’s decision and are holding meetings in Madrid this week to decide how to react, with removing ranking points from the tournament a possibility.