Unvaccinated Players Deserve The Chance To Play Australian Open, Says ATP Council Member John Millman - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Grand Slam

Unvaccinated Players Deserve The Chance To Play Australian Open, Says ATP Council Member John Millman

According to the world No.57, it is estimated that seven in every ten players on the men’s Tour have recieved their COVID-19 jabs.

Avatar

Published

on

John Millman (AUS) playing against Roberto Bautista Agut (ESP) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Court 12 at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 1 Monday 28/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Ian Walton

A top Australian player says he hopes his home Grand Slam will provide an opportunity for all players to participate in next year’s draw regardless of their vaccination status against COVID-19.

 

John Millman, who states that he is ‘pro vaccination,’ says players who have not been jabbed and are willing to go through quarantine should be given the opportunity to take part in the Australian Open. His comments come amid a dispute between leading political figures over what the rules should be for players arriving at the tournament. Earlier this week Prime Minister Scott Morrison indicated that he would welcome unvaccinated players to play at the Australian Open providing they go through a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. However, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said that he would not be requesting any exceptions for players in relation to a recent health mandate requiring mandatory vaccinations for all key workers, including athletes, in his region.

The ongoing debate on the entry requirements comes less than two months before players usually begin travelling to Australia in order to prepare for the Grand Slam which starts on January 17th. World No.1 Novak Djokovic and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev have both said they do not wish to speak publicly about whether they have received a vaccination or not. The ATP and WTA have previously issued estimates regarding the percentage of their players who have received a vaccination but never reveal their names. So it is unclear as to how many top players could be affected in the coming weeks.

“I’m pro vaccination. I’m all for getting the jab. I’ve had it over here and I’m feeling good,” Millman said on Melbourne radio station 3AW.
“But I do want to see an opportunity for all the players to be able to play tennis, whether that be unvaccinated people having to go in and do the 14 days hard quarantine, like we’ve seen throughout the year – people returning back home who’ve been unvaccinated do. I’d like to see them at least have that opportunity.
“It is encouraging that those who are vaccinated can come in and play the Australian Open, definitely.”

World No.57 Millman is a member of the ATP Players Council alongside the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray. The 32-year-old said the council have been urging their peers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The ATP’s stance is they haven’t made it compulsory for players to get the vaccination, but they’re not going to stand in the way of [the rules set by] governments and local jurisdictions,” he said.
“The men’s tour’s now up around 70 per cent [double dosed] and that number’s going up each day in terms of the guys in the top 100.”

The rise in the vaccination rate isn’t entirely due to the threat posed by the Australian Open. In a leaked email seen by Tennis Majors earlier this week, the ATP has warned that unvaccinated players may find life on the Tour more difficult in 2022. They could be subjected to more tests than those who have been vaccinated and might have to contribute towards the cost. Furthermore, Unvaccinated players who test positive for Covid-19 before an event, or who are deemed a close contact of someone who tests positive – and have to withdraw – will not receive “prize money compensation.”

Despite the uncertainty cast over the Australian Open, Millman remains confident that most leading players will still attend due to the significance of the event.

“I think that they will still come,” he said.
“I can’t speak for them, but I do believe that the majority of players, even if they are unvaccinated, would still come, even if it meant doing the 14 days.
“It’s not ideal. I’ve done that [hard quarantine] before. It is extremely hard to ‘find’ the tennis ball when you come out of it.
“The Australian Open at the end of the day – it is one of the four biggest events that we have. It’s a great opportunity. You don’t get to play grand slams day in, day out. [But with] both the accolades of playing a grand slam and doing well in a grand slam, along with the prize money that’s on offer, I think is a nice caveat.”

It is unclear as to when a final decision on entry requirements will be made. In a recent interview, Djokovic told a Serbian newspaper that he is expecting the rules to be finalised during the first two weeks of November based on the information he has received.

Tennis Australia, who runs the tournament, recently issued a statement saying they are optimistic that they can hold the event ‘as close to pre-pandemic conditions as possible.’ Although they will not have the final say regarding allowing unvaccinated players to attend. That decision will be made by the government.

Grand Slam

Tennis Australia Suffers Major Financial Loss Due To COVID-19 Pandemic

Millions has been lost over a 15-month period, according to an official document.

Avatar

Published

on

Tennis Australia’s staging of the 2021 COVID-19-affected Australian Open came at a huge financial cost, according figures published in their annual report.

 

The governing body has revealed that between June 30, 2020 and September 30, 2021 they suffered a total loss of AUS$100.02 million which equates to roughly $71M in US dollars. Part of the heavy loss is linked to the hosting of this year’s Australian Open in accordance to rules related to the pandemic. Charter flights were provided to players for them to fly into the country. Then they all have to go through quarantine at designated hotels. To add to the financial burden, during the Grand Slam fans were banned from attending for a five-day period after Melbourne went into a snap lockdown. On the days the event was opened up to the public it was for a limited capacity crowd.

It was also confirmed that Tennis Australia used all of their AUS$80M cash reserves and subsequently had to borrow an additional AUS$40M loan in order to help them with their staging of next year’s Australian Open.

It is hoped that the organisers will be able to regain some of their financial loss in January where the country will host a series of ATP and WTA tournaments prior to the Melbourne major. As it currently stands, the Australian Open will be operating with full capacity crowds which maximises their earning potential from the visiting fans. There is also no mandatory quarantine required for players arriving in the country. Instead, they will have to take a COVID-19 test both before and upon arrival. Furthermore, they must also be double vaccinated in order to play.

Officials are hoping to stage the 2022 Australian Open in more normal circumstances despite the threat of the recently discovered Omicron variant which scientists are still looking into. The first case of community transmission of the variant in Australia was discovered on Friday in New South Wales.

“We’re still waiting. I’ve been talking to the government … there’s still a lot of unanswered questions around this (new COVID-19 variant),” tournament director Craig Tiley told the Nine Network earlier this week.
“I think in the next 14 days we will have some clarity, but at this point, the plans are going ahead as they are.”

The Australian Open is set to get underway on January 17th.

Continue Reading

Grand Slam

Nick Kyrgios Backs Australian Open Ban On Unvaccinated Players But Opposes Mandatory Vaccinations

The world No.90 landed himself in some hot water after making some comments on the No Boundaries podcast.

Avatar

Published

on

Tennis star Nick Kyrgios says recent comments made by him on a podcast were taken out of context after he was accused of calling for next year’s Australian Open to be cancelled.

 

The former top 20 player spoke about the upcoming event and other issues on the No Boundaries podcast which he is a co-founder of. During one part of the discussion, Kyrgios said that he doesn’t think that the Australian Open should go ahead due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The country has had one of the strictest rules in the world regarding the pandemic with many cities being placed into a lockdown for almost a year and heavy restrictions being placed on international travel.

I don’t think the Aus Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne – you’ve got to send a message,’ Kyrgios said on the podcast.
‘How long did (Melbourne) do in lockdown? 275 days or something?’

However, the 26-year-old later clarified his comment and said his point was more about the people living in Melbourne and not that the tournament should be cancelled. Kyrgios reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open back in 2015 and has made eight consecutive appearances in the main draw. This year he reached the third round before losing to Dominic Thiem in five sets.

“To say that I’d want the Australian Open cancelled, I think that was the sentence that got taken out of context,” he said in a video on his Instagram account. “It’s more so for the people of Melbourne who have gone through hell and back. I think it’s been … nearly 300 days of lockdown and your freedom has been, you know, taken away from you.”

Next year’s Melbourne major is still yet to publicly confirm their entry requirements amid growing speculation that players will only be allowed to play in the tournament if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is due to a health mandate being implemented in Victoria which requires all essential workers, including elite athletes, to be vaccinated. Premier Daniel Andrews has previously told journalists that he would not be making any exceptions to the rules for players.

Weighing in on the topic of vaccinations, Kyrgios said the idea of having a policy on Tour which requires all players to be vaccinated is ‘morally wrong.’ Novak Djokovic is among a group of players who have not revealed their vaccination status. Prompting speculation over if he will travel to Australia next January or not.

“(NBA player) Kyrie (Irving), Novak (Djokovic), these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much,” Kyrgios commented. “They’re global athletes who millions of people look up to and I just feel like it’s so morally wrong to force someone to get vaxxed. There’s other solutions around it.”

However, Kyrgios has also said that he thinks it is ‘morally wrong’ for unvaccinated players to be allowed in Melbourne.

I don’t think it’s morally right to accept players from overseas that aren’t vaccinated to come into our country.” He stated.

Although Tennis Australia is yet to confirm their policy, media sources are reporting on Tuesday that unvaccinated players will be banned from the tournament. According to ABC Australia, Victorian Sports minister Martin Pakula told reporters that unvaccinated players would be banned from the Australian Open along with unvaccinated fans and staff.

Continue Reading

ATP

Roger Federer Unlikely To Play Australian Open Next Year

One of Federer’s coaches has issued an update concerning his recovery from injury.

Avatar

Published

on

Roger Federer Wimbledon 2021
Roger Federer (SUI) playing against Adrian Mannarino (FRA) in the first round of the Gentlemen's Singles on Centre Court at The Championships 2021. Held at The All England Lawn Tennis Club, Wimbledon. Day 2 Tuesday 29/06/2021. Credit: AELTC/Jed Leicester

It appears that Roger Federer’s return to professional tennis will not occur in Australia after one of his coaches described the chances of him playing in the first Grand Slam of 2022 as ‘very few.’

 

Ivan Ljubicic has issued an update on the 20-time Grand Slam champion who has not played since his quarter-final loss to Herbert Hurkacz at Wimbledon. Shortly after that defeat, Federer underwent a third operation of his knee following a consultation with his medical team. He has already undergone two minor surgeries on his knee during the first half of 2020, as well as a separate procedure back in 2016.

Speaking in Zurich during a sponsor event for Mercedes-Benz back in September Federer said ‘the worst is behind him’ but he is taking his recovery slowly. Speaking about his progress earlier this week, coach Ljubicic said the Swiss maestro is unable to recover ‘as quickly as he used to’ due to his age. Admitting that the prospect of Federer returning to action at Melbourne Park is unlikely.

“I think there are very few chances, he is still recovering and knowing him, he wants to be sure he can play to win the tournament and be at 100%,” Ljubicic told Stats Perform.
“So I think the Australian Open is not a real possibility right now. But he will go step by step because he is 40 years old now and he needs to be patient. He cannot recover as quickly as he used to.”

Federer has won six out of his 20 major titles at the Australian Open with the most recent occurring back in 2018. He also missed the tournament this year due to his knee. Prior to this, he had made 21 consecutive appearances at Maelbourne Park (2000-2020).

However, Ljubicic is optimistic that Federer will return to competition and retirement talk is currently not on the cards despite his age. According to the ATP, only six players older than Federer have an official ranking but none of those are currently ranked in the top 200. Although Feliciano Lopez is the same age as him but is a couple months younger.

We have spoken and I can guarantee he wants to return to playing tennis. When he decides to stop he will retire, but I don’t think it’s going to happen all of a sudden.” Ljubicic stated.

During his career, Federer has won 103 ATP titles and has earned more than $130M in prize money.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending