Novak Djokovic says he could do without the all-white clothing rule at Wimbledon and grumbled that others got to step onto the pristine grass of Centre Court before he did.
With the notoriously staid All England Club shaking up life at SW19 for the current edition, all is not well with the top seed.
As holder – and winner of the last three editions held – the Serb sounded shocked that the club allowed “other” players to train on the show court grass prior to the champion’s traditional start on the first Monday.
The modification was apparently made to prevent the slipping injuries of the kind that sent Serena Williams out early in her opening match a year ago when she had to retire after six games.
“What I don’t agree with is the possibility of training on Center Court before the tournament starts,” Djokovic said.
“I never thought that someone would step on the grass before the defending champion.”
The 35-year-old doubled down on the refusal to get vaxxed against COVID which looks to be keeping him from travelling to North America for a Masters 1000 pair and the US Open.
Djokovic said nothing has changed in that regard and he will not be bothering with the jab taken by the other 99 per cent of the tennis player population.
“Before the tournament started I visited the city for a couple of days, but now I only go home from the club and I am with my family and team,” he said.
“I’m not too worried about anything and I do not think about if I am going to catch it.
“Of course, being cautious is necessary after what we’ve been through the last two years.”
Djokovic said he has had enough of Wimbledon’s white-only clothing mania but was all-in on the new concept of Middle Sunday play which began at this edition.
“I’m glad Wimbledon has changed that rule and from now on we’re going to play on this day.
“It’s quite amazing how the rules are changing, despite being a very traditional event. It’s good that they’re open to some innovations.”
But he warned: “I don’t love that they keep things like wearing white and that there is no publicity (advertising hoardings around the courts).”