Andy Murray believes the large number of unvaccinated players in tennis locker rooms is becoming an increasingly serious problem – and one that could threaten the health of the communities they pass through.
Murray himself has been vaccinated and also has first-hand experience of the severity of the virus, having contracted Covid himself earlier this year. He expects the separation between vaxxers and anti-vaxxers to intensify at the upcoming Australian Open in January, where the two sides will likely be treated in different ways.
“I can see this is going to become a problem over the next few months,” said Murray, who is set to face third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas at the US Open on Monday.
“Conversations regarding the Australian Open are already taking place. Players who have been vaccinated are going to have very different conditions from players who are not vaccinated.
“Much of the tour is unvaccinated,” Murray added. “They [Tennis Australia] are going to allow players who have been vaccinated to practice and move freely between the hotel, without potentially having to quarantine themselves and things like that.
This is not just a selfishly pragmatic question. As Murray pointed out, “The reason we all get vaccinated is to watch out for the general public. We have a responsibility, as players who travel the world, to look after everyone as well. “
Those close to the tour believe that no more than half of the players have now been vaccinated, despite tennis authorities’ best efforts to encourage a higher turnout, and also to make jabs available at tournaments. Tsitsipas recently expressed a widely held opinion when he said that “the vaccine has not been sufficiently tested, it is new, it has side effects”, before adding that he did not think it was. important that young people receive the vaccine. .
Britain’s No.1 Johanna Konta – who missed both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics due to a contract with Covid – again said yesterday that she had not had the vaccine, but refused to ” explain the reasons for their decision.
Over the next fortnight, the US Open will require spectators to show proof of vaccination, which only underscores the fact that players and those around them don’t have to.
“It’s going to take a lot of pretty long and difficult conversations with the circuit and all the players involved to try to find a solution,” Murray said on Saturday. “Even here in New York you have the situation with the gyms and everything, you have to be vaccinated. Eating in restaurants and the like must obviously be vaccinated.
“I feel like I’m living a pretty normal life, whereas for players who haven’t, it’s different. I’m sure they’ll be frustrated by this. I am happy to be vaccinated. Hopefully more players will choose to have it in the coming months.