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More than half the tennis pros playing in US Open are unvaccinated but spectators must show proof

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More than half the tennis players at the US Open are unvaccinated, according to Andy Murray, despite the US Tennis Association’s (USTA) announcement on Friday that spectators will have to show proof of vaccination if they want to watch the tournament live.

Former first seed Victoria Azarenka drew attention to the double standard between players and spectators, and said: ‘It’s bizarre that fans have to be vaccinated and players are not.’

The 32-year-old pro from Belarus told press after her win against Italian Jasmine Paolini on Wednesday that she didn’t see the point of stalling Covid mandates, as reported by ESPN

‘In my opinion it’s inevitable that it will be mandated at some point like other leagues are doing. We all want to be safe, we all want to continue doing our jobs,’ the vaccinated tennis star added.

Murray, who won the US Open in 2012, has been vaccinated after contracting the virus earlier this year but many of his Grand Slam rivals are not so quick to get the shot.

While the exact number of unvaccinated players has not been confirmed, world No. 3-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece, No. 6-ranked Alexander Zverev from Germany and No. 7-ranked Andrey Rublev from Russia are among the unvaccinated bunch. 

Former first seed Victoria Azarenka drew attention to the double standard between players and spectators, and said: 'It's bizarre that fans have to be vaccinated and players are not'

Former first seed Victoria Azarenka drew attention to the double standard between players and spectators, and said: ‘It’s bizarre that fans have to be vaccinated and players are not’

Andy Murray (pictured) revealed that more than half the tennis players participating in the US Open are unvaccinated despite the US Tennis Association's (USTA) announcement that spectators will have to show proof of vaccination if they want to watch the tournament live

Andy Murray (pictured) revealed that more than half the tennis players participating in the US Open are unvaccinated despite the US Tennis Association’s (USTA) announcement that spectators will have to show proof of vaccination if they want to watch the tournament live

No. 3-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece (pictured), 23, said he wouldn't get vaccinated until USTA makes them mandatory

No. 6-ranked Alexander Zverev (pictured), 24, from Germany admitted he was unvaccinated but wouldn't comment further

No. 3-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece (left), 23, said he wouldn’t get vaccinated until USTA makes them mandatory while No. 6-ranked Alexander Zverev (right),  24, from Germany admitted he was unvaccinated but wouldn’t comment further

Veteran French tennis player Gilles Simon's refusal to get the vaccine forced him to withdraw from the tournament on Friday after coming in close contact with his Covid-positive coach, Etienne Laforgue

Veteran French tennis player Gilles Simon’s refusal to get the vaccine forced him to withdraw from the tournament on Friday after coming in close contact with his Covid-positive coach, Etienne Laforgue

Tsitsipas, speaking at a pre-tournament press conference in Cincinnati, said: ‘I haven’t [been vaccinated]. No one has told me anything and no one has made it a mandatory thing to be vaccinated.’

The 23-year-old was ‘pretty sure’ he would have to get his first dose at some point but maintained that time won’t come until the USTA makes vaccines mandatory for players to participate.

Murray would disagree and has publicly stated that ‘the reason why all of us are getting vaccinate is to look out for the wider public’. 

‘We have a responsibility as players that are traveling across the world to look our for everyone else. I’m happy that I’m vaccinated. I’m hoping that more players choose to have it in the coming months,’ Murray added.

Three-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic - ranked world No. 1 - kept his vaccination status under wraps and said he's 'not in a position to debate' the vaccine

Three-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic – ranked world No. 1 – kept his vaccination status under wraps and said he’s ‘not in a position to debate’ the vaccine

As recently as a week ago unvaccinated tennis fans believed they were able attend the US Open but on Friday the USTA changed its mind, making it mandatory for fans over 12 years old to show proof of at least one shot

As recently as a week ago unvaccinated tennis fans believed they were able attend the US Open but on Friday the USTA changed its mind, making it mandatory for fans over 12 years old to show proof of at least one shot

At full capacity, Arthur Ashe Stadium can seat nearly 24,000 fans. In total the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center can house nearly 46,000

At full capacity, Arthur Ashe Stadium can seat nearly 24,000 fans. In total the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center can house nearly 46,000 

THE US OPEN PLAYERS WHO ARE VACCINATED AND THOSE WHO SAID ‘NO’ TO THE COVID SHOT 

VACCINATED 

 – Andy Murray

 – Sofia Kenin

– Ashleigh Barty 

 

UNVACCINATED

 – Stefanos Tsitsipas

– Alexander Zverev 

– Andrey Rublev 

– Gilles Simon 

 

NOT DECLARED 

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– Novak Djokovic 

Zverev told Tennis World he didn’t want to say much because ‘nowadays, it’s easy to be misunderstood,’ but still admitted he was unvaccinated.

The 24-year-old claimed the entire debate was ‘too political’ for his taste and simply believes ‘everyone should act as they see fit’. 

Veteran French tennis player Gilles Simon’s refusal to get the vaccine forced him to withdraw from the tournament on Friday after coming in close contact with his Covid-positive coach, Etienne Laforgue. 

Simon – previously ranked No. 6 and now 103 – notoriously stated he wouldn’t get any shots because he ‘wasn’t scared’ of Covid. The 36-year-old has not tested positive for the virus but cannot play in the US Open due to 10-day isolation protocols. 

Three-time US Open champion Novak Djokovic – ranked world No. 1 – kept his vaccination status under wraps and said he’s ‘not in a position to debate’ the vaccine.

‘I feel like that should be a personal decision, whether you want to get vaccinated or not. So I am supportive of that,’ he added.

Meanwhile, as recently as a week ago unvaccinated tennis fans believed they were able attend the US Open. Yet the staff that interact with players – chair umpires, ball kids, the media and security – had already been vaccinated as per USTA requirements.

But on Friday New York Mayor Bill de Blasio suddenly reversed rules and ordered the US Open to require proof of vaccination for all attendees at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. 

Shortly after the USTA released a statement declaring it mandatory for fans over 12 years old to show proof of at least one shot. 

‘The USTA was informed that the New York City Mayor’s office will be mandating proof of Covid-19 vaccination for entrance to Arthur Ashe Stadium during the US Open.

‘Given the continuing evolution of the Delta variant and in keeping with our intention to put the health and safety of our fans first, the USTA will extend the Mayor’s requirement to all US Open ticket holders,’ the statement posted to Twitter read. 

Many fans took to Twitter to express anger towards the tennis association for not mandating vaccines for players too, saying unvaccinated pros 'shouldn't be allowed to play'

Many fans took to Twitter to express anger towards the tennis association for not mandating vaccines for players too, saying unvaccinated pros ‘shouldn’t be allowed to play’

Tennis fans were still left irritated Monday over hour-long delays to enter the first day of the tournament as ticketholders scrambled to produce proof of vaccination after the sudden rule reversal. 

At full capacity, Arthur Ashe Stadium can seat nearly 24,000 fans. In total the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center can house nearly 46,000.

Many fans took to Twitter to express anger towards the tennis association for not mandating vaccines for players too, saying unvaccinated pros ‘shouldn’t be allowed to play’.

One user couldn’t believe it. ‘Seriously? What is wrong with them?’ they queried, while another called out the ‘privilege’ the professional athletes have received being allowed to travel, stay at hotels and play without the shot.  

Fifth-ranked American tennis player Sofia Kenin (pictured) has been a vaccine advocate but was forced to pulled out of the US Open last week when she tested positive for a breakthrough bout of Covid

Fifth-ranked American tennis player Sofia Kenin (pictured) has been a vaccine advocate but was forced to pulled out of the US Open last week when she tested positive for a breakthrough bout of Covid

Australian Ashleigh Barty (pictured) got access to a vaccine in April thanks to a WTA Tour initiative at a tournament in South Carolina

Australian Ashleigh Barty (pictured) got access to a vaccine in April thanks to a WTA Tour initiative at a tournament in South Carolina

Meanwhile fifth-ranked American tennis player Sofia Kenin has been a vaccine advocate but was forced to pulled out of the US Open last week when she tested positive for a breakthrough bout of Covid.

The 22-year-old won the 2020 Australian Open and announced the ‘disappointing news’ on social media.

‘Fortunately I am vaccinated and thus my symptoms have been fairly mild,’ Kenin wrote in the post. ‘However I have continued to test positive and thus will not be able to compete in the US Open next week.’ 

Australian Ashleigh Barty got access to a vaccine in April thanks to a WTA Tour initiative at a tournament in South Carolina.

Barty, 25, said of getting her jab with her coach: ‘We were able to get the vaccine, as were a lot of other players, through the Tour and that they had organized through a certain pharmacy that had extras, and that was important to me knowing that those who were the most vulnerable were able to get it first.’

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