World No.1 Novak Djokovic will find himself in a predicament if it becomes compulsory for players to get vaccinated before competition. In a Facebook Live chat with fellow Serbian athletes, Djokovic detailed his concerns about how the vaccination may get in the way of his tennis career.
“Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said. “Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet.”
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“But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision. I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know,” he added.
Last month, former World No.1 Amelie Mauresmo said tennis action should not resume until a vaccine is available for Covid-19, something that most scientists believe is at least a year away.
“[Sic] International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the 4 corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis,” the two-time grand slam winner wrote in a widely shared tweet.
With the sport calendar disrupted due to the ongoing pandemic, Djokovic who is the President of the ATP council, along with Rafael Nadal discussed plans for the resumption of tennis behind closed doors without fans earlier this month.
However, Wimbledon Champion, Simona Halep slammed the idea and insisted that fans are an integral part of the sport. "Tennis minus fans doesn’t work,” Halep said in an interview, “We enjoy the big stages so much because of the incredible passion the fans bring. Otherwise, tennis would be a different sport.”
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Wimbledon has been called off for the first time since the second world war, whereas the French Open, originally scheduled for 24 May, was rescheduled for the end of September, shortly after the end of the US Open. The disruptions while obviously tough on higher ranked players’ aspirations hit many on the lower rungs of the tour economically.
To address the economic pitfalls tournament cancellations could cause, Djokovic, wrote to fellow players recently to arrange for a money pot potentially generating funds in excess of $4 million through contributions from high earning stars.
The fund is proposed to help those singles players ranked in the 250-700 bracket. The ATP has set aside $1 million for this fund and is planning to help those ranked from 150 to 400. The overall goal is to provide $10,000 to each player. India currently has six men’s players ranked between 150 and 700 many of whom have supported the move.
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