US Open: Azarenka calls for mandatory player vaccinations, pinpoints 'bizarre' double standards

By Sports Desk September 01, 2021

Two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka says it is "bizarre" that fans need to be vaccinated to attend the US Open but not the players.

The 2021 US Open marks the first tennis tournament where fans must show their proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to attend matches inside the Flushing Meadows venue. The decision was made less than 72 hours prior to the first matches at the US Open.

Azarenka, who defeated Italian Jasmine Paolini 6-3 7-6 (7-1) in the second round on Wednesday, said there was a double standard applied for fans compared to players who are not required to be vaccinated to play.

"I want to start this conversation between our players, because to me that's a bit bizarre that fans have to be vaccinated and players are not," three-time US Open finalist Azarenka told reporters.

"I think it's inevitable that it will be mandated at some point, like other leagues are doing.

"I don't see the point of stalling it, because I think we all want to be safe, we all want to continue doing our jobs, and I know there is a lot of discussions about it."

She added: "I hope that as an association we make the best decision for our business, for our health, for the tournaments and for the public."

On Saturday, Briton Andy Murray voiced his opinion that players need to be vaccinated, saying it is their responsibility as they travel the world to play.

Numerous top players including Novak Djokovic, Stefano Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev have previously spoken about their concerns about getting vaccinated.

Medvedev would not be drawn on Azarenka's comments after he defeated Dominik Koepfer 6-4 6-1 6-2 in the second round on Wednesday.

"Tough to answer this question," Medvedev told reporters. "I think everybody can have his own opinion.

"I understand why they did it to the fans. So far it has not been applied to the players. We as players, we can just follow the guidelines and the rules. That's all we can do.

"I think it's not for players to decide, because that's why we have governing bodies in tennis."

Related items

  • Alex de Minaur defends Mexican Open title after straight sets win Alex de Minaur defends Mexican Open title after straight sets win

    Alex de Minaur has defended his Mexican Open title after defeating Norwegian Casper Ruud in straight sets in Acapulco.

    The match took just under two hours as the pair battled in long rallies, with the difference being the Australian’s ability to capitalise on break points, nailing three of four while Ruud converted just one of four.

    The 25-year-old took an early lead in the first set at 3-1 and served out the rest of the set, while in the second the pair broke each other before de Minaur had the decisive break in the seventh game.

    De Minaur won the same competition last year, beating American Tommy Paul, and further solidified his ranking in the top ten.

    He has won 10 straight games in Acapulco and is the first player since David Ferrer in 2012 to win back-to-back titles at the tournament.

    He defeated Jack Draper in the semi-final after the Englishman retired ill in the third set.

  • Katie Boulter through to San Diego Open final after straight sets win Katie Boulter through to San Diego Open final after straight sets win

    Katie Boulter will play in her first WTA-500 final after she beat American Emma Navarro in straight sets at the San Diego Open.

    It took just over an hour for Boulter who won the first set 6-3 and dominated the second 6-1 against the third seed.

    The 27-year-old from Leicester dominated on her serve, winning more than 87 per cent of first serve points and allowed just two break points opportunities against her serve, saving both.

    Rain stopped play early in the second set, but the delay did nothing to stop Boulter’s momentum as she produced an almost perfect set to secure victory.

    Boulter will climb to her career-high WTA ranking after the win as she looks to win her first WTA-500 title in what will be the biggest game of her career so far.

  • Jack Draper retires ill in deciding set of Mexican Open semi-final Jack Draper retires ill in deciding set of Mexican Open semi-final

    Jack Draper retired in the third set of his semi-final against Australian Alex de Minaur at the Mexican Open in Acapulco.

    Draper left the court 4-0 down in the final set because of an undisclosed illness after he staged a strong comeback from a set down to the defending champion.

    The Australian started strongly, taking the first 6-3 and capitalising on four of six break points – the first set Draper had dropped in the tournament.

    But the British number three staged a valiant comeback, winning the second set 6-2 with some strong returns.

    His illness became an issue towards the end of the second set with the 22-year-old receiving treatment from the physiotherapist and tournament doctor.

    Things only got worse in the third set as the Australian won four consecutive games before Draper retired from the match.

    De Minaur said after the match that he wishes Draper a “speedy recovery”.

    “He’s a hell of a player, a hell of a talent and I hope it’s nothing too serious,” he said.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.