Novak Djokovic was given a phenomenal welcome by the Centre Court crowd as he begins another Wimbledon title defence.
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.
No one was quite sure what kind of reception the 20-time Grand Slam would receive as he stepped out onto the main court at Wimbledon.
There was no hint of any boos as he walked out to face Kwon Soon-woo in the first round, where he is the number one seed.
The 35-year-old had a broad smile on his face as he acknowledged the reception he received as he hopes to win a seventh title.
Djokovic’s refusal to get the vaccine ultimately saw him deported from Australia in January and barred from playing the Australian Open.
It was a hugely sensitive situation with the Serbian locked in an immigration facility for a number of days before being deported, while his attempt to use a medical exemption to enter the country was hugely controversial.
While he was not able to play in Australia, he did compete at the French Open.
His reception at Roland Garros was mixed, with a smattering of boos when he took to court.
Djokovic continues to be quizzed on his vaccine status and that could well mean missing more Grand Slams.
He would currently be unable to enter America to play the US Open.
“As of today I am not allowed to enter the States under these circumstances,” Djokovic said.
“I am aware of that and that is an extra motivation to do well here, and hopefully I can have a very good tournament as I have done in the last three editions.
“Then I will just have to wait and see. I would love to go to the States. But as of today that is not possible.
“There is not much I can do anymore. It is up to the US government to make a decision whether or not they allow the unvaccinated people to go in to the country.”
Asked if he had closed his mind on the possibility of getting the vaccine, he replied: “Yes.”