Tennis Players Want a Choice on Vaccination; Tours Encourage

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The gap between spectators and prospective players widened when the United States Tennis Association announced on Friday that proof of the coronavirus vaccine would be required for all spectators aged 12 and over to enter the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. I’m watching at the US Open.

Adults in the stands will now be nearly twice as likely to be vaccinated than players on the field: WTA said “about 50 percent” of their players have been vaccinated, while ATP said vaccination rates are “just over 50 percent”.

Despite the possible consequences of not being vaccinated – illness, of course, but also the inability to play and make money – tennis players have been stubbornly slow in their uptake, even as they have lost opportunities to play in major tournaments due to positive tests. While some players were clearly skeptical of the need for vaccinations as a healthy teenager, others did not prioritize it.

French veteran Gilles Simon, who was disqualified from the US Open for “medical reasons” on Friday, confirmed in an interview with L’Equipe that he was expelled for not being vaccinated. Simon’s coach, Etienne Laforgue, tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in New York, and Simon was disqualified for what was considered “close contact.”

“I wasn’t so opposed to getting the vaccine, I’m just saying that I didn’t feel the need or the urge,” Simon told L’Equipe.

If Simon had been vaccinated, he would have remained eligible to compete in the tournament with increased testing.

“I’m actually not very afraid of Covid,” said Simon. “My basic philosophy is: ‘If you’re afraid, you’ll get vaccinated; if not, no.’ It’s still a choice.”

Simon now has to isolate in his hotel room for 10 days under federal and New York City guidelines. The 36-year-old and 103rd-placed Simon was upset that his hotel room didn’t have a nice view when he admitted it could be the last US Open.

“If your last moment at a US Open is 10 days in a room, it’s not something you want to hide,” he said.

The most high-profile tennis player to miss this year’s US Open is fifth-placed Sofia Kenin, who remains the highest-ranked American in both rounds under the pandemic-adjusted ranking system, despite disappointing results this year. Kenin said that although he was vaccinated, his tests came back positive.

“Fortunately I got vaccinated and therefore my symptoms have been pretty mild,” he said.

Many tennis players benefit from on-site vaccination programs created by tournaments as they tour. Ashleigh Barty, her Indigenous Australian top runner-up in vaccine delivery, managed to get vaccinated at a tournament in Charleston, SC in April.

“It was important to me to know that the most vulnerable were able to get it first,” she said in April.

Simon’s assertion that vaccination should remain an option is supported by both rounds, even as they encourage players to opt for the vaccine.

Other sports have been more successful in getting their athletes to shoot. NS WNBA 99 percent in June players were vaccinated. The MLS Players Association said in July It was “approaching 95 percent”. This week, NFL announced had achieved a player vaccination rate of about 93 percent. Michele Roberts, Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association, Said 90 percent of NBA players were vaccinated in July. Earlier this month, the NHL Player vaccination rate was 85%, and its union warned that unvaccinated players could lose their pay if they test positive.

In tennis, where each player is an independent contractor, there is no general manager or team owner to foster a union of players to encourage cohesive behavior and inoculation for the team’s competitive advantage. But other individual sports are still ahead of tennis: the PGA had a rate of player vaccination earlier this month. “over 70 percent.”

“While we respect everyone’s right to free choice, we believe every player has a role to play in helping the wider group reach a safe level of immunity,” ATP said in a statement. Said. “Doing so will allow us to ease restrictions in place for the benefit of everyone on the Tour.”

The WTA said it “strongly believes and encourages everyone to be vaccinated” and aims to have 85 percent of players vaccinated by the end of the year. However, he currently does not “want players to get vaccinated as it is a personal decision and a decision we respect”.

Third place Stefanos Tsitsipas caused a commotion He is in his hometown of Greece earlier this month, only after he said he will be vaccinated if he needs to continue racing.

Tsitsipas, 23, said: “I see no reason for someone my age to do this. It has not been adequately tested and has side effects. Everyone can decide for himself, unless it is mandatory.”

Greek government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said Tsitsipas had “neither information, studies, or studies to advise him on the need for the vaccine,” adding that there was neither information, nor research, that would enable the widely acclaimed sports fans “to form an opinion on the need for the vaccine.” There is also research work,” he said. “Be doubly careful in expressing such views”.

The top-ranked Novak Djokovic has drawn scrutiny for his approach to health issues throughout the pandemic and has refused to disclose his own vaccination status. Asked about vaccination protocols on Friday, Djokovic said it was a “personal decision”. “Whether someone wants to get vaccinated is entirely up to them,” Djokovic said. “I hope it stays that way.”

Andy Murray, a member of the ATP player council, said of the many players that “it will take some pretty long, hard conversations with the tour and all the players involved to come to a resolution.” players waiting for the vaccine. He said that as a vaccinated person, he appreciated the privileges afforded by New York City regulations, such as eating indoors at restaurants.

“I feel like I’m enjoying a pretty normal life, whereas it’s different for players who aren’t like that,” Murray said. “I’m sure they’ll be angry about that.”

Murray said he believes players have a duty to others.

“Ultimately, I guess the reason we all get vaccinated is to pay attention to a wider audience,” he said. “As players traveling the world, yes, we have a responsibility to pay attention to everyone else as well. I’m happy to be vaccinated and I hope more players choose it in the coming months.”

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