Not-fully vaccinated tennis players will face more covid restrictions compared to vaccinated players in 2022, mentions ATP, the Association of Tennis Players, to Tennismajors.com. Even though vaccination remains voluntary, ATP backs countries that demand mandatory vaccination. ‘The ATP supports the decision of governments and local authorities allowing only fully-vaccinated players to enter tournaments’, says Johan Synaeve of Tennis Vlaanderen.
According to the ATP, as of now, 65 percent of its players are fully vaccinated. Notably, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas, the top three male tennis players have declined to reveal their vaccination status. But Craig Tiley, the CEO of Tennis Australia, expects that number to rise, as the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year starting on the 17th of January, only accepts fully-vaccinated players to attend in Victoria, the southern Australian state. Tiley says that being fully-vaccinated is the one decision you take to ensure your own and other people’s safety.
ATP pushes for more vaccination
Non-vaccinated tennis players will face various restrictions in 2022. In a letter to its players, ATP revealed a list of possible restrictions unvaccinated players may face next year. These players are subject to more testing, have to pay quarantine costs and other added costs and transportation can be more limited. The ATP strongly encourages its players to get vaccinated, as the association supports the scientific evidence regarding the vaccines’ protection against the coronavirus.
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Novak Djokovic is one of the players who opposes mandatory vaccination. In an interview at the Paris Masters earlier this month, Djokovic admitted to be unsure about attending the Australian Open next year. Srdan Djokovic, his father, said on live television in Serbia that his son will likely not play at the Australian Open, because of the Australian government’s blackmail regarding the players’ vaccination status. CNN states that Victoria sports Minister Pakula replied that it’s the athletes’ responsibility to respect the community, as every Victorian is fully-vaccinated.
More vaccination or more restriction
Johan Synaeve shared his knowledge on the subject of mandatory vaccination in tennis. ‘It’s not a surprise that ATP is actively urging the male tennis players to get vaccinated. In certain countries and areas more than 80 or sometimes 90 percent of the people living there are vaccinated and in most of these areas being fully vaccinated is mandatory. The ATP’s best position is to support the local government’s and authorities’ decision concerning Covid-19 vaccines, this in order to prevent disputes and altercations.’
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Synaeve also shared his views on tennis in the near future: ‘More and more tournaments will join the Covid-19 vaccination mandate. In many countries the coronavirus figures are rapidly rising and with the spread of the new Omicron variant, a lot of countries will adopt this mandate to ensure the nations’, visitors’ and athletes’ safety. In the near future unvaccinated players will face more restrictions and will be able to attend fewer tournaments. These restrictions will only increase as more covid variants emerge’, concludes Synaeve.
Text: Jellen Monsieur ; final editor: Jacob
Photo: Philip Mallis, (CC BY-SA 2.0)