Saturday, June 3News That Matters

Andy Murray says tennis players should ‘probably’ be required to take Covid vaccine

Andy Murray

Andy Murray thinks tennis players should “probably” be required to take a Covid-19 vaccine to be able to continue to play on the tour.

World number one Novak Djokovic said in April he “wouldn’t want to be forced to take a vaccine to be able to travel”.

But Murray hopes players would “do that for the good of the sport, providing everything has proved to be safe”.

“I’m confident that players would be into it if it meant the tour going back to normality,” said the Briton, 33.

“I guess we’re not going to know the long-term effects potentially for a while. But what I’ve been hearing on the TV and on the news is that there shouldn’t really be any long-term effects.”

Djokovic, who tested positive for Covid-19 in June, accepted he would have a difficult decision to make should taking the vaccine ever become a condition of entry to tournaments.

“I also read – a few weeks after he’d said he wouldn’t be keen on doing that – that if it was something that had to be done for him to play the sport, he would,” Murray said.

“I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the ATP and the ITF decide.”

Murray is currently training and preparing for an unexpected Christmas at home with his family.

The former world number one had been planning to fly to Melbourne in the middle of December, to quarantine ahead of the Australian Open, but the Premier of Victoria has blocked players arriving before the end of December at the very earliest.

As a result, Murray has been told the first Grand Slam of the season may be delayed.

“I’ll go as soon as I can. A lot of players are coming from very cold climates just now. To then go and ask players to play in 35, 36-degree heat with no match preparation, it just increases the risk of injuries, and possibly the quality of tennis is not going to be that high.”

Murray ‘pumped’ over trying for another Olympic medal

Murray’s present motivation comes from trying to beat personal bests in the gym. Pre-season will stretch to at least 10 weeks, which allows the huge boxing fan to think of himself as a boxer training for a big fight.

He sounds extremely optimistic about the year ahead, citing the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics as his top priorities.

“I’d be pumped to go and try to win another medal in Tokyo,” said Murray at a photoshoot for his clothing brand.

“The only thing that I maybe won’t get to the same level in is the speed. There’s no reason why [with] everything else I can’t get back to what it was before.”

Murray had a hip resurfacing operation in January 2019 and has been plagued this year by a pelvic problem which, along with the pandemic, has restricted him to just four tournaments.

“If I look back to the summer, I was struggling physically playing three mixed doubles matches at the Battle of the Brits,” he added.

“I think next year I’m going to be alright. I just need to make sure that everything’s kind of in place, and I think with my age and also with the metal hip, I can’t really afford to have any chinks, or be slightly heavier than what I should be, or have weaknesses in my body that I maybe could have got away with when I was younger.”

Three times a Grand Slam champion and twice an Olympic gold medallist, Murray promises he will once again feature in the closing stages of tournaments.

“I’ve seen enough in the limited amount I have played in the last year. I was beating a top-10 player in Cincinnati, and then obviously at the end of last year I was still winning against guys like Stan [Wawrinka, in the European Open final].

“So I know I will perform and win big matches if I can get properly fit and healthy for an extended period of time.”

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