When Andy Murray had joined in the main interview room of the US Open on Saturday for a pre-tournament press conference, the moderator told him that he was permitted to remove the light blue medical masks that have been so prevalent during the coronavirus epidemic.
In contrast to the 9 players who had met with the media in the same location a day earlier, Murray opted to wear his mask. And, unlike nearly half of the other men and women competing in the year’s last Grand Slam event, Murray has been immunized against COVID-19.
He wishes there were more tennis professionals. It establishes a couple of contrasts in Flushing Meadows in relation to a hot-button topic in contemporary culture, particularly as cases involving the delta variation rise.
For one thing, players and team members are not required to be vaccinated, but fans who pay to watch them — and may get near enough to the action at certain courts to give high-fives — must now demonstrate they have taken at least one shot.
Additionally, there are some among the players, like No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who see the decision to get a shot as entirely personal. And there are others, like Murray, who argue that it is about more than self-preservation; it is also about assisting others.
“I feel as if I’m living a pretty regular life, while the guys who haven’t are in a different situation. They’re certain to feel irritated by it. Finally, I suppose the reason we are all being vaccinated is to protect the general public. As athletes who travel the globe, we have a duty to watch out for one another as well,” Murray added. “I’m relieved that I’ve been vaccinated. I’m hopeful that more gamers will choose it over the next several months.”
According to an ATP spokesperson, slightly more than half of the male players are already vaccinated, and the tour continues to highly encourage immunization to players. According to a WTA spokeswoman, approximately half of the female players have been vaccinated, and the women’s tour firmly believes and encourages all to get vaccinated with the goal of increasing vaccination rates to “in excess of 85 percent” by the end of this year, despite the fact that athletes are not currently required to get the shots.
Recently on Wednesday, the US Tennis Association said that spectators attending the US Open would not be required to get vaccinated. However, prompted by the NY Mayor’s office, the USTA reversed course Friday, requiring fans over the age of 12 to show proof of receiving one dose before entering the grounds — garnering praise from the social media from those pleased with the added layer of complaints and precautions from those unhappy with the policy and its timing.
Individuals who come into contact with players are already obliged to be vaccinated: USTA staff, chair umpires, ball children, some transportation and security personnel, and the media.
According to some players, their nomadic lifestyle, which involves frequent movement between cities — or even continents — complicates obtaining the vaccination.