The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH)
U.S. Open players won’t need COVID vaccine
NEW YORK >> When Andy Murray sat in the U.S. Open’s main interview room for a pre-tournament news conference Saturday, the moderator informed the 2012 champion he was allowed to remove the sort of light blue medical mask that has become so ubiquitous during the coronavirus pandemic.
Unlike the nine players who met with the media in that spot a day earlier, Murray chose to keep his mask on. And unlike roughly half the other men and women who will be taking the court when the year’s last Grand Slam tournament begins Monday, Murray has been vaccinated against COVID-19.
He wishes more tennis pros were. It sets up a couple of contrasts at Flushing Meadows when it comes to a hot-button issue across society these days, especially as cases connected to the delta variant increase.
For one thing, players and their team members do not need to be vaccinated, but the spectators who have paid to watch them — and at some courts can get close enough to the action to offer high-fives — now must be able to show they have had at least one shot.
Plus, among the players, there are those, such as No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, who frame the decision about whether to get a shot as a purely personal choice. And there
are those, such as Murray, who explain it as being not just about protecting oneself but also about helping others.
“I feel like I’m enjoying kind of a fairly normal life, whereas for the players that haven’t, it’s different. I’m sure they’ll be frustrated with that. Ultimately, I guess the reason why all of us are getting vaccinated is to look out for the wider public. We have a responsibility as players that are traveling across the world to look out for everyone else, as well,” Murray said. “I’m happy that I’m vaccinated. I’m hoping that more players choose to have it in the coming months.”
An ATP spokesman said Saturday that just above 50% of male players are vaccinated and the men’s tour “continues to strongly recommend vaccination to players.”