Melbourne, Nov 16 (IANS) Tennis player Nick Kyrgios has waded into the sensitive issue of vaccination of players ahead of the Australian Open next year, saying that the opening major of the next season should not go ahead as it is “morally wrong to force someone to be vaccinated”.
According to reports, fully-vaccinated players will not have to undergo mandatory two weeks of hotel quarantine or live in a bio-secure bubble in Australia for next year’s Australian Open tournament, while unvaccinated players will have to undergo two weeks of quarantine on reaching Australia for the event in Melbourne.
Earlier, it was said that only fully-vaccinated players will be allowed to play in the Australian Open 2022. But now with 80 per cent of people in Victoria state vaccinated, Tennis Australia relaxed the rules a bit.
The 26-year-old feels that Melbourne had been through enough during the pandemic and added that the event should be cancelled out of respect for Melbournians.
“I don’t think the Australian Open should go ahead, just for the people in Melbourne — you’ve got to send a message. How long did (Melbourne) do in lockdown? 275 days or something?” the outspoken Kyrgios said on his podcast ‘No Boundaries’ on Tuesday
Kyrgios felt that Covid-safe environments could be created without a vaccine mandate, adding that he had sympathy for world No.1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who would have to undergo 14 days of hard quarantine before he becomes eligible to play in the Australian Open.
Djokovic is refusing to reveal his Covid-19 vaccine status, casting doubt over his Australian Open participation next year.
“Kyrie (Irving), Novak, these guys have given so much, sacrificed so much. They are global athletes who millions of people look up to. I just think it is so morally wrong to force someone to be vaccinated. I’m double vaccinated, but I just don’t think it’s right to force anyone and say ‘you can’t come and play here because you’re not vaccinated’.
“There are other solutions around it, like getting tested every day. In the (United) States I know they’ve got rapid tests, and it’s coming to Australia. It’s 85 per cent success rate, you wait 15 minutes and then you’re allowed to play.”
The Australian Open begins on January 17, 2022.