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Tennis tours offer incentives for players to get the coronavirus vaccine

ATP and WTA Tour tournaments are offering incentives for players to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible. Nonetheless, players appear to have a large degree of variance when it comes to their opinion of the vaccine.

Roger_Federer_Doha_2021 Roger_Federer_Doha_2021 Crédit : AI / Reuters / Panoramic

One of the talking points at the ongoing at the Miami Open is whether or not players on the ATP and WTA circuits will get the Covid-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them.

For the health and safety of the players themselves and other citizens and to solve some of the logistical issues currently being endured by tournaments around the world, organizers of professional tennis events obviously want as many players — and tournament staff, etc. — as possible to be vaccinated. As a result, the ATP Tour updated its Covid-19 protocols this week to include an ATP Testing Exemption List for those who have protected themselves against the coronavirus by getting the vaccination.

“Persons who have fully completed the Covid vaccination process may be exempt from quarantine after their initial PCR test on arrival to the tournament,” the protocol reads. “Persons who have completed both doses of two dose vaccines (ie Pfizer, Moderna, Astra Zeneca) or a single dose (Johnson and Johnson) and have submitted proof to ATP for entry into the ATP Testing Exemption List would be eligible.”

For the upcoming Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, players who have the vaccine would still have to get tested for Covid-19 but they would be able to avoid the brief quarantine period while waiting for test results. That time frame is reportedly just five hours, but no quarantine is better than five hours of it especially in the quick turnaround between tournaments this time of year. More significantly, players who have the vaccine will bot be considered a “close contact” of anyone who tests positive during the week. We saw that kind of issue become a major factor at the 2020 US Open following Benoit Paire’s positive test.

Nonetheless, competitors at the ongoing Miami Open have expressed differing opinions on the matter of getting the vaccine or not.

Among those are apparently against getting vaccinated — at least for the time being — are Andrey Rublev, Elina Svitolina, and Aryna Sabalenka.

At the other end of the spectrum are Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, and Simona Halep.

“I’m planning on getting one,” Osaka said. “For me, I feel like (I’ll get it) whenever I’m eligible, I guess.”

“Obviously [my family] will be getting the vaccine once they are kind of rolled out in Australia for the three different phases, and obviously they have to stick to their phase,” Barty noted. “They will do what they can to get the vaccine, but they will stay at home with my sister and nieces and nephews and kind of hold down the fort there.”

In late February, Halep went to Twitter and posted a photo of her receiving the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

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