Novak Djokovic has received a phenomenal reception from the center court crowd as he begins another defense of the Wimbledon title.
Djokovic has been in the headlines this year for more than tennis with his stance on the Covid-19 vaccine making the front pages as well as the back.
Nobody knew exactly what kind of reception the 20-time Grand Slam would receive when it stepped onto the main court at Wimbledon.
There was no trace of boos as he came out to face Kwon Soon-woo in the first round, where he is the number one seed.
The 35-year-old had a wide smile on his face as he acknowledged the reception he received as he hopes to win a seventh title.
Djokovic’s refusal to get vaccinated eventually saw him expelled from Australia in January and banned from playing at the Australian Open.
It was an extremely sensitive situation with the Serb locked in an immigration center for several days before being deported, while his attempt to use a medical exemption to enter the country was highly controversial.
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Although he was unable to play in Australia, he participated in the French Open.
His reception at Roland Garros was mixed, with a handful of boos when he went to court.
Djokovic continues to be asked about his vaccination status and that could mean missing more Grand Slams.
He would currently be unable to enter America to play at the US Open.
“As of today, I am not allowed to enter the United States under these circumstances,” Djokovic said.
“I am aware of it and it is an additional motivation to do well here, and I hope to be able to 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 like to go to the United States. But so far this is not possible.
“I can’t do much anymore. It is up to the US government to decide whether or not to allow unvaccinated people to enter the country.
When asked if he had closed his mind on the possibility of getting vaccinated, he replied: “Yes”.