Djokovic repeats no vaccination stance

Novak Djokovic repeated his hardline refusal to get a Covid-19 vaccination Saturday as he resigned himself to sitting out the season's last Grand Slam at the US Open. Djokovic was deported from Melbourne in January over his single-minded but controversial stance, forcing him to abandon an assault on a 10th Australian Open title. With no sign of the US authorities relaxing their rule requiring all visitors to be vaccinated, the 35-year-old Djokovic admitted Saturday that Wimbledon, which starts Monday, will be his last Slam of 2022. When asked if he had completely closed his mind to getting vaccinated, he was unequivocal. "Yes," he said. Djokovic was US Open champion in 2011, 2015 and 2018. He has 20 Slams to his name, two fewer than old rival Rafael Nadal. Last year, defeat in the New York final to Daniil Medvedev robbed him of the opportunity to become the first man since 1969 to clinch a calendar Grand Slam. His inability to travel to the United States – he already missed the Indian Wells and Miami Masters – will serve as a key driver as he sets his sights on a seventh Wimbledon title. "As of today I'm not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances. That is an extra motivation to do well here. Hopefully I can have a very good tournament," said Djokovic. "I would love to go to States. But as of today, that's not possible. There is not much I can do any more. "It's really up to the US government to make a decision whether or not they allow unvaccinated people to go into the country." Also adding fuel to the Djokovic fire is the chance to win a fourth successive Wimbledon title and join a select group. In the Open era, only Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer have managed to complete such a streak of dominance at the All England Club. "As a seven, eight-year-old boy I've dreamt of winning Wimbledon and becoming No 1," he added. "Pete Sampras winning his first Wimbledon, was the first tennis match I ever saw on the TV." Murray full of belief for Wimbledon Andy Murray has shaken off the abdominal injury which threatened his participation at Wimbledon, the former world number one said on Saturday before declaring that there was still a lot of "good tennis" left in him. Murray, who won the grasscourt Grand Slam in 2013 and 2016, sustained the injury during his Stuttgart Open final defeat by Italian Matteo Berrettini earlier this month, after impressive wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Nick Kyrgios. The problem forced Murray, ranked 51st, to skip the Queen's Club event with doubts over his participation at Wimbledon but the Scot said things had improved since. "It's gone well," Murray, 35, told reporters. "I've been able to gradually progress my training this week and got to play a few sets, a lot of points. The last few days have been good." Murray secured his first victory over a top-five opponent in six years with a 7-6(4) 6-3 victory over Tsitsipas in Stuttgart, showing fans glimpses of the form that marked his rise to the top of the rankings before multiple hip surgeries. He reached the 70th final of his career and second of the year after a runner-up finish in Sydney. "I think I showed a couple weeks ago that there was still good tennis left in me," Murray said. "I beat a guy in the top five, I was neck-and-neck with Berrettini, who is one of the best grasscourt players in the world before the injury. I played well against Kyrgios, as well. The first set was a good level. And I've been doing pretty well in practices. I know the tennis is in there; I just need to bring it out during the event now. "Having Ivan (Lendl) on my team helps. We've had a lot of success in the past. We know each other well. He still believes in me. There's not loads of coaches, people out there that have done over this last period, and he has. That definitely helps." Wimbledon begins on Monday, with Murray facing Australia's James Duckworth in the first round.

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