Andy Murray expects unvaccinated players to compete at the Australian Open but says he would support moves by local authorities to impose stricter conditions on them at Melbourne Park than those who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula said on Tuesday that players planning to compete at the first Grand Slam of the year should get vaccinated to give themselves the best chance of competing in Melbourne.
Tennis Australia has declined to comment on arrangements for players based on their vaccination status. However, vaccinated players are expected to be given more freedom to move around and may also be able to skip the country’s mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival.
“My understanding is if you’re unvaccinated you’re still allowed to play, it’s just the rules are going to be different,” Murray told a news conference after Tuesday’s third-round Indian Wells defeat by Alexander Zverev.
“You might just have to leave (for Australia) a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That’s the player’s choice. If the local government puts that in place then I would support that. It would be great if more players got vaccinated.
“Australia in particular has been very, very strict over there. The public there have had to endure a painful 18 months or whatever. If people are going to come into the country and potentially risk an outbreak in their community, yeah, that’s understandable.”
World number four Zverev, who in April said he had not been vaccinated, did not want to be stuck in the middle of the debate. “I fully respect the decisions of players that are not vaccinated. I also do respect the decision that the Australian government is giving,” he said.
“I don’t want to be in the middle of something which I kind of am not involved in because I don’t have that issue of the two-week quarantine, all that. I don’t want to go against anybody here.”
The Australian Open is due to start on Jan 17.