‘It needs to be black and white’ – Two-time Australian Open champion backs stronger vaccine stance
Victoria Azarenka believes that the ‘grey area’ surrounding vaccination requirements for players creates more problems than it solves, as evidenced by this year’s Australian Open.
Following her second round victory over Swiss Jil Teichmann, Azarenka, who won the Australian Open back-to-back in 2012 and 2013, was eloquent in her responses to questions in her press conference.
The main topic of discussion was regarding vaccination policies on the WTA tour and in tennis in general, with the reporter especially looking to get the 32-year-old’s opinion as a WTA Player Council member.
“From my standpoint it’s been very clear,” Azarenka began.
“I believe in science, I believe in getting vaccinated. That’s what I did for myself.
“I don’t want to push my beliefs on everybody else. However, we are playing a global sport and we’re travelling around the world.
“As an entity, the WTA is travelling globally. We have to respect different countries, different mandates, different legalities of the country where some countries will not allow mandates.
“[It’s not that] getting vaccinated nobody will be sick [anymore]. But I think it’s a step to hopefully battle against this coronavirus and hopefully bring it down globally.”
When asked to expand on her thoughts by addressing the particular situation of players, including world number one Novak Djokovic, being deported from the country ahead of the Australian Open, the Belarusian had the following to say.
“[Nobody] looked good in any case. That became a bit of a circus.
“As soon as there is a grey area in the rules then that [brings up] a bit too [many] questions and situations like this happen.
“I think on certain things a black and white approach is necessary, and in my opinion this should be the case.”
As an example for how the situation surrounding player vaccination is developing, male players recently received an email with information from the ATP about ongoing legislation developments in France, suggesting all players must be fully vaccinated to play Roland Garros in May, with exceptions looking unlikely.
Both the ATP and WTA tours report more than 95 out of the top 100 players on tour are fully vaccinated.
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