Greek tennis champion Stefanos Tsitsipas finally agreed to get his vaccination against Covid-19 on Wednesday. He has virtually committed to January’s Australian Open Covid-19 rules, which include vaccinations for all players.
Tsitsipas described any potential limitations imposed on unvaccinated tennis stars, including quarantine, as fair. One week after declining to reveal his COVID-19 vaccination status, the Greek star was asked about the looming vaccine mandate for athletes heading Down Under.
The Victorian government’s sweeping vaccine requirement for authorized workers will not affect international cricket and tennis players. But reports say it is probable a separate vaccine mandate will be required for tennis stars.
When quizzed about the expected strong stance from Australian officialdom and its impact on any vaccine-hesitant players, Tsitsipas said: “I will play under the conditions that have been set now. I think it’s fair.”
Tsitsipas vaccination social media row
A huge public and social media row took place last August, when Tsitsipas revealed in an interview that he was not yet vaccinated. “No one has made it a mandatory thing to be vaccinated. At some point I will have to, I’m pretty sure about it. But so far it hasn’t been mandatory to compete, so I haven’t done it, no,” he said.
His statement drew wide criticism on social media, facing even “cancel culture” type threats from fans. The government condemned the world No.3 tennis player‘s position by government spokesman Giannis Economou in a press briefing.
“He has neither the knowledge, nor the studies, nor the research work, that would allow him to form an opinion about it,” Economu said. The fierce criticism was complemented by accusations of hypocrisy, as Tsitsipas was one of the faces of the government’s TV campaign for the pandemic lockdown.
Tsitsipas’ statement came only a week after he had declined to reveal his vaccination status. Asked directly about it, the French Open runner-up had opted against detailing any private medical information.
Tsitsipas reluctant to say if vaccinated
“I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide my medical … any of my medical records, or any of my medical status. Thank you,” he said. But on Wednesday, Tsitsipas briefly elaborated on his situation.
A reporter asked “The local government in Australia has suggested (to) players to get vaccinated. So, will you play under such conditions in Australia?” After a pause, Tsitsipas described the requirements as “fair.”
Tsitsipas is not the only tennis player reluctant to get the Covid-19 vaccine. World No.1 Novak Djokovic has always stated his belief in the self-healing power of the human body. Even if the he didn’t want to reveal if he got his shots, it is widely believed that Djokovic is not keen on vaccination.
Given that vaccinations will probably be mandatory for Australian Open competitors, the Serbian ace will have to either get the vaccine, or bow out of the tournament.