The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has said it will encourage players to get vaccinated against Covid-19, to “allow our world to move back to a place of normalcy,” after several athletes expressed reluctance to get the jab.
The body said it will educate players, explaining the benefits of getting the shot, but added that being vaccinated will not be an obligatory condition for a player to be approved for the tour.
“The WTA believes in and will encourage everyone to get a vaccine,” the WTA said in a statement.
“This will assist in protecting the individual that has received the vaccine, those who have not been vaccinated, and allow our world to move back to a place of normalcy that is desired by all.
“The WTA, with the full assistance of our medical advisers from the Mayo Clinic, have been educating and will continue to educate our players on the various vaccines, along with the benefits of getting vaccinated.”
The tennis organization had raised the issue after several top players voiced concerns regarding the necessity of getting the shot, including fears that the vaccine has only just been introduced.
Ukrainian Elina Svitolina and Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka said they remain reluctant to receive the jab, stressing that it will not free them from an obligatory requirement to quarantine before major tournaments.
“So far I don’t really trust it,” Sabalenka told reporters recently.
“It’s tough to say, but I don’t really want it yet and I don’t want my family take it.
“If I will have to do it, then of course I have to do it because our life is a travel life.”
Russian men’s star Andrey Rublev also revealed that he is not planning to get the shot.
“For the moment it doesn’t really give you any privilege,” Rublev said in a press conference.
“You still have to be in the bubble. If you ask me, if I can choose and I can have an option, I will not do it.”
Others, in contrast, spoke in favor of getting the jab, with both World No.1 Ash Barty and World No.2 Naomi Osaka saying they will receive the vaccine when it’s their turn.