Novak Djokovic to defend title at Wimbledon despite bans

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While Novak Djokovic thinks it’s a “lose-lose situation for everyone,” he intends to defend his title at Wimbledon later this season.

Djokovic, speaking after his opening-round win at the French Open on Monday, slammed Wimbledon’s move to ban Russian and Belarusian players from the Grand Slam this year after the two countries invaded Ukraine. As a response, neither the WTA or the ATP will be awarding ranking points from that tournament.

While that decision may scare some away — Naomi Osaka said she was considering skipping it altogether — he isn’t backing down.

“A Grand Slam is still a Grand Slam,” he said, via The Associated Press. “Wimbledon, for me, was always my dream tournament when I was a child. So I don’t look at it through the lens of points or of prize money. For me, it’s something else.”

Both the ATP and the WTA announced Friday that no ranking points will be awarded at Wimbledon next month after both leagues, and several notable players, slammed Wimbledon’s move to ban players from Russia and Belarus.

The two countries invaded Ukraine earlier this year, and are still engaged in war in the country several months later.

Though Djokovic isn’t impacted that way, as he’s from Serbia and can still play, doing so wouldn’t help him out at all in the rankings — something he’s trying to make up for after his tumultuous start to the year and his debacle at the Australian Open, where he was kicked out of the country due to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

“For me, or for the guys that did well last year, we are not only not going to have a chance to earn points, but we can’t defend them,” Djokovic said, via The Associated Press. “And there are some guys, obviously, who are not going to have a chance to earn points, of course. It’s a very unique and weird situation, I must say.”

Djokovic beat Matteo Berrettini at Wimbledon last year to win the title, which marked his 20th Grand Slam. He’s just one win shy of matching Rafael Nadal’s all-time record.

While he has his issues with the ATP and the decision to ban certain players, Djokovic said he’s at least happy that a decision was made to right what he saw as a wrong.

“Collectively, I’m glad that players got together with the ATP, the governing body of men’s tennis, and showed to the Grand Slam that when there is a mistake happening — and there was, from the Wimbledon side — then we have to show that there’s going to be consequences,” he said, via The Associated Press.

Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic said at the French Open on Monday, is a “lose-lose situation for everyone.” (Mine Kasapoglu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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