Australian Open 2021

‘Tennis stars are free spirits’ – Boris Becker weighs in on vaccine debate

Boris Becker said players are ‘free spirits’ who do not like to be ‘pigeonholed’, though urged stars to accept the rules imposed on them as he weighs in on the vaccine debate. 

The six-time Grand Slam champion revealed that he respects those who want to make a private decision on whether to get the Covid-19 vaccine, but said they have to understand why the rules have been implemented.

The vaccine debate is a huge topic within the sport, with both the Australian PM and the Victoria Premier at loggerheads on permitting unvaccinated players to travel and compete at the Australian Open.

Speaking to Eurosport. Becker said it is important to consider how much of an independent sport tennis is when it comes to judging players’ decisions.

“Tennis players are their own entrepreneurs,” Becker said.

“They don’t play for a team and tennis players in general are free spirits. we don’t like to be pigeonholed.

“I also heard the numbers and of course I was surprised how many tennis players are not vaccinated. if you look around the world, the number of people who have been vaccinated keeps increasing – I think that’s positive.

“According to reports, two thirds of the Premier League footballers are also vaccinated.

“Athletes have to grab their own nose and say: ‘If I want to continue doing my sport, then sooner or later I will have to be vaccinated or I will not be able to do my sport.”

“Whether you appreciate it as a private person or not, or have something against it … I can understand that, but now I’m also an athlete and have to follow the rules. Many athletes find that difficult, but that’s the way it is.”

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.