Murray backs vaccination for players before events

Murray backs vaccination for players before events

LONDON • Andy Murray believes that all tennis players should be required to have a coronavirus vaccination before they are allowed to take part in tournaments.

With next year’s tennis schedule facing inevitable issues with the Covid-19 pandemic, the British three-time Grand Slam winner hopes the long-awaited vaccine will be available by spring and that a compulsory programme is rolled out within the sport.

“I think that probably should be the case. I would hope that all the players would be willing to do that for the good of the sport – providing everything has proved to be safe, clinical trials and everything have been done, and there are not any significant side effects,” Murray said on Tuesday.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic generated headlines earlier this year for his anti-vaccine comments. The Serb later said he was not against vaccinations but did not like the idea of being forced to have one.

Murray admitted it would be difficult to force players to be vaccinated, but he still hopes that common sense prevails. “I guess it would be difficult. I also read a few weeks after he’d said he (Djokovic) wouldn’t be keen on doing that, if it was something that had to be done for him to play the sport, he would,” the Scot said. “So I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the ATP and the ITF (International Tennis Federation) decide their position is going to be on that.

“But I’m confident that players would be into it if it meant the Tour going back to normality.”

Strict quarantine rules in Australia have cast doubt on the viability of the Australian Open, with players not able to arrive in the country until the end of December at the earliest and then required to quarantine for two weeks.

Discussions are ongoing over whether they will be able to train or compete while under quarantine, and Murray is anticipating that the first Slam of the year will be pushed back from its planned start on Jan 18.

“It’s obviously tricky for the players. Originally, we planned to go on the 12th or the 13th of December to arrive around the 15th,” the 33-year-old said. “Then that changed and the latest I’ve heard is they’ve planned to push it back a couple of weeks. That would be the best-case scenario now.

“That would allow the players to get over there at the beginning of January and prepare properly for the event. I’ll go as soon as I can.”