Andy Murray says it seems like a "no-brainer" for him that players should be vaccinated against Covid-19 if they want to avoid continuing to live in bubbles at tournaments.
The vaccine programme has been ramping up over the last few weeks with several players, including Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, getting their jabs and both the ATP and WTA tours encouraging players to accept the vaccine when available.
The ATP Tour have also said that players who have been vaccinated will no longer be considered as close contacts of anyone testing positive for Covid-19.
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Novak Djokovic has said that he hopes the vaccine will not become compulsory for players, but Murray thinks it is the best way forward.
"It isn’t that much fun going and staying in the bubbles,” he told PA.
"In Miami, for example, you look out of the window and the whole city’s completely open but the players are obviously in the bubble. I can appreciate from the players’ perspective that can be frustrating.
"And, because it’s been going on for a while, it’s a bit tiring. And I know for some of the Aussie players, they’re looking at nine or 10 months away from home because if they go home they have to do two weeks in a hotel.
"So I appreciate all that, that it is difficult. But, at the same time, seeing 60,000 people died in Brazil last month because of coronavirus, if this is what we have to do to be able to continue to do our jobs and to give the tournaments some security (then so be it).
"If they opened up in Miami, it was spring break, I saw what was going on there in the city with tons of people coming in from around the country, partying and the city’s open, and then a bunch of the players start testing positive, that’s difficult for the tournament as well.
"It’s very uncertain times for them as well. Right now it’s the best way to keep the tournaments safe, and players and the members of staff safe as well.
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"If you want to avoid having to be in a bubble for too long, you need to then support the vaccination, because you can’t just say, ‘No we want to just live normally and we don’t want any bubbles but we also don’t want to be vaccinated’. It’s a no-brainer to me."
Murray, who has previously backed a compulsory vaccine programme for tournaments, has not played since the start of March after having to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a groin injury.
He says it is important that he gets back to full fitness and is able to practise regularly.
"I need to be consistently practising (rather than) having these enforced breaks. That was the thing in December, why I think I got into such a good place was because of the two months of practising basically six days a week every week for a couple of months.
"By the end of that my game started to feel really good. That’s the first thing is to be able to be on the practice court consistently and then I obviously need to get the matches. How many matches that is, I don’t know.”
Andy Murray in action in Rotterdam
Image credit: Getty Images
Murray’s main priority this year is likely to Wimbledon, which starts on June 28. He hasn’t played the tournament since 2017 and is preparing to be in a bubble despite living close to the All England Club, where he has won twice and has never lost before the third round.
"Obviously I would way rather not be staying in a hotel. It would be a shame but, if that’s what we’ve got to do to keep everyone safe, then that’s what we’ll do.
"If you look at what the schedule is, and you have to potentially go into a bubble at Queen’s. We’ve been told that the ticketing for Wimbledon is going to be vastly reduced for the players for family.
"It would be very odd playing at Wimbledon without, not just being able to see your family and stuff, but not having them there to support in the matches as well.
"That's the times we're living in. Hopefully, if we keep going with the vaccinations, there'll be a possibility for potentially family members and friends that have been vaccinated to come in and get tickets and come to support. If not, that's what it will have to be this year."
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