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Andy Murray backs calls for mandatory vaccination to compete in Australian Open

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Andy Murray has urged fellow players to get vaccinated against Covid-19 after the former British No. 1 backed plans for mandatory double shots to participate in the Australian Open in January.

Some of the game’s biggest stars, including world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, are at risk of being ineligible to go to Melbourne if they don’t change their stance on Covid vaccination.

The Victoria government announced earlier this month that all professional athletes in the state must now be double-shot by the end of November – a move Murray fully supports.

“It would be great if more players were vaccinated,” Murray said after Tuesday’s defeat at Indian Wells to Alexander Zverev.

“I prefer to focus on tennis. We focus a lot on the vaccine because many players haven’t taken it yet.’

“It is my understanding that if you are not vaccinated you can still play, but the rules will be different and that is understandable.

Andy Murray has backed down demands from state officials in Victoria for players to be fully vaccinated ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne in January

The government of Victoria has announced that all professional athletes in the state must now be double stabbed by the end of November

The government of Victoria has announced that all professional athletes in the state must now be double stabbed by the end of November

‘I understand from the virus that you are considerably more likely to contract the virus if you are not vaccinated, and that you also pass it on more often.

“Obviously Australia in particular has been very, very strict there. The public there has endured a painful 18 months or whatever.

“If people come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community or whatever, yes, that’s understandable.

“It doesn’t mean you can’t play. You may just have to leave a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That is the player’s choice. If the local government implements that, I would support it. It would be great if more players got vaccinated.”

Figures at the US Open suggested that only about 60 percent of players have been fully vaccinated, with at least four members of the top 10 men not taking that step.

Tennis Australia supremo Craig Tiley had previously indicated that the restrictions will be significantly stricter for non-stabbed players.

In the latest episode of the Australian slam, more than 70 players were told to quarantine for 14 days and not leave their hotel rooms – not even for the daily training they previously thought would be allowed.

Players were placed in strict quarantine until the first week of February after five people arriving on the same planes tested positive for coronavirus.

Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is believed to be one of the players yet to opt for Covid-19 vaccination

Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic is believed to be one of the players yet to opt for Covid-19 vaccination

It is expected that unvaccinated players will face similar strict rules and harsh quarantines if they are made eligible to play.

If Murray is right and unvaccinated players can play, then those players will at the very least be forced into 14 days of total isolation upon their scheduled arrival over the Christmas period.

When asked whether players on both the men’s ATP Tour and women’s WTA Tour should be required by the governing bodies to take a vaccine, the Scot hesitated.

Mandates have proved controversial in all sports, with the National Basketball League (NBA) being one of the leagues not agreeing to mandate with players.

In a statement in late August, the WTA Tour revealed that “nearly 50% of our players have been vaccinated.” Last week, world number 11 Petra Kvitova confirmed that half of the women’s tour – including herself – had been stabbed.

Stefanos Tsitsipas previously said he would only get vaccinated if it was mandated by the ATP Tour, but he changed his mind last month when he confirmed he will take the vaccine

Stefanos Tsitsipas previously said he would only get vaccinated if it was mandated by the ATP Tour, but he changed his mind last month when he confirmed he will take the vaccine

On the question of a possible tenure in tennis, Murray added: “I don’t really know how to answer that because I think it’s quite complex with how our sport works.

“Here in the different sports, I know there are different rules within the different states, but it’s all in one country, while in tennis, of course it’s global, there are different rules in different countries.

“I think some players would feel that if they haven’t been vaccinated and they go to a country where vaccination is not mandatory, they shouldn’t be forced into it by the ATP or the WTA.

“But like I said, I’m in favor of vaccination. I hope more players get it done. I don’t want to come off the field after playing a game and talk about something like that again.”

He added: ‘Hopefully over time people will gain confidence in it, they can see that the benefits outweigh the possible risks or side effects that people are concerned about.

“I’m not saying that never happens. I understand it’s in rare cases like people can get side effects. For the most part, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Hopefully more players see that.’

Djokovic has yet to reveal his vaccination status, but the Serb has previously expressed concerns about the use of vaccines in medicine.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Murray at the US Open earlier this year, said in August that he would only be vaccinated if it became mandatory.

He had angered his own government by publicly declaring that he “sees no reason to vaccinate anyone in my age group” – but he has since made a U-turn.

Unvaccinated players can still participate, but they will likely face much stricter rules, such as a 14-day non-negotiable quarantine upon arrival in Australia over Christmas

Unvaccinated players can still participate, but they will likely face much stricter rules, such as a 14-day non-negotiable quarantine upon arrival in Australia over Christmas

The Greek star has backed down on those comments, saying in September that he will act on the vaccine offer before the end of the year.

“I’m getting vaccinated this year,” he said Antenna TV. ‘That way I can go to restaurants and shops. I support everyone who gets vaccinated. I am not a doctor; I’m a tennis player, so I may not have the most informed opinion when it comes to medical matters.’

Any exclusion from the Australian Open, which Djokovic has won nine times, would be huge news as he would be denied the chance to become the all-time leading Grand Slam record holder. He is currently tied at 20 with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.

“If I were an ATP or WTA player I would get vaccinated,” Victoria’s sports minister Martin Pakula told the local radio station. SEN.

“That gives them the best chance of playing at the Australian Open with the more minimal restrictions that apply to those people.”

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