A number of the most prominent tennis players in the world sparked controversy in the sports community after announcing that they did not want to be vaccinated against the Corona virus.
The ATP and the WTA have called for the players to be immunized with vaccines, but the two associations have affirmed that they will not force anyone to do so.
Big stars in tennis, including Novak Djokovic and Elena Svitolina, have expressed reservations about vaccinations.
Last year, Djokovic declared that he was an “opponent of vaccination”, before taking part in a controversial exhibition tour in Serbia and Croatia, which was attended by an audience. Later tests revealed that Djokovitz and three other players were infected with the virus.
He then claimed that his statements about vaccines were taken out of context in the media, saying: “My problem with vaccines is that I refuse to have someone force me to put something in my body.”
The debate about the vaccine has intensified in the past few weeks.
International health agencies, including the World Health Organization, have insisted that the benefits of vaccines outweigh any potential risks.
What did the players say?
In press conferences on the sidelines of the current Miami Open, journalist Ben Rothenberg asked a number of players about their readiness to receive the vaccine.
“They are making it quickly without conducting enough experiments to know what will happen,” said the eighth world-ranked, Arena Sabalenka, but added that she would receive the vaccine if she had to.
“It’s hard to say, but I don’t want to receive it and I don’t want my family to have it.”
As for the Ukrainian player, Elena Svitolina, she said that she had spoken with a number of her friends, and they advised her to wait and wait for what would happen.
After these statements, the Women’s Tennis Association said in a statement that it would continue to “educate its players about the benefits of vaccinations and the importance of vaccination.”
She added that she believes in vaccinations and encourages everyone to get vaccinated.
Of the men, Andre Roblev, ranked in the world’s top ten, said: “The vaccine will not give you any advantage now.”
He indicated that the players participating in the tournament should not communicate with people outside a specific social circle. “If he asked me to choose, I would not receive the vaccine,” he added.
In a statement issued by the Tennis Association on Tuesday, it said that it recommends vaccinations based on scientific evidence that proves their health benefits and the protection they provide.
Players Ashley Barty and Naomi Osaka said they would receive the vaccine. Simona Halep has already received the vaccine in her native Romania, and she was one of the first among the tennis players.
And in November, Andy Morey said tennis players might be required to get vaccinated in order to continue playing, adding that he hoped “they would do so in the interest of the sport.”