Andy Murray backs calls for mandatory vaccination to enter the Australian Open

Andy Murray has urged fellow players to get vaccinated against Covid-19 after the former British No 1 backed plans for mandatory double jabs to enter the Australian Open in January. 

A number of the game’s biggest stars, including world No 1 Novak Djokovic, are at risk of not being eligible to go to Melbourne if they do not change their stance on Covid vaccination. 

The Victoria government announced earlier this month that all professional athletes in the state must now be double jabbed by late November – a move that Murray is fully supportive of. 


‘It would be great if more players got vaccinated,’ Murray said, following defeat at Indian Wells to Alexander Zverev on Tuesday. 

‘I’d rather focus on the tennis. We’re concentrating on the vaccine a lot because a lot of the players haven’t taken it yet.’ 

‘My understanding is if you’re unvaccinated you’re still allowed to play, it’s just the rules are going to be different, and that’s understandable. 

Andy Murray has thrown his weight behind demands from state officials in Victoria for players to be fully vaccinated ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne in January

The Victoria government announced that all professional athletes in the state must now be double jabbed by late November

‘My understanding of the virus is that you’re significantly more likely to catch the virus if you’re unvaccinated, and you’re also more likely to pass it on, as well.

‘Obviously 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 or whatever, yeah, that’s understandable.

‘It’s not to say you can’t play. You might just have to leave a few weeks earlier than everyone else. That’s the player’s choice. If the local government puts that in place, I would support that It would be great if more players got vaccinated.’


Figures at the US Open suggested that only around 60 per cent of players are fully vaccinated, with at least four members of the men’s top 10 reckoned not to have taken that step.

Tennis Australia supremo Craig Tiley had previously signalled that restrictions will be considerably tougher for the non-jabbed.

The last installment of the Australian slam saw more than 70 players told to quarantine and not leave their hotel rooms for 14 days – not even for the daily practice which they previously thought they would be allowed. 

Players were ordered into a strict quarantine until the first week of February after five people that arrived on the same planes tested positive for coronavirus.

Novak Djokovic, a nine time Australian Open champion, is believed to be among the players who remain yet to take up the option of vaccination against Covid-19

It is anticipated that unvaccinated players will face similar rigorous rules and hard quarantines if they are made eligible to play. 

If Murray is correct and unvaccinated players can play then at the very least, those players look sure to be forced into 14 days total isolation upon their scheduled arrival over the Christmas period.  

Asked if players on both the men’s ATP Tour and the women’s WTA Tour should be mandated by the governing bodies to take a vaccine, the Scot was more hesitant.

Mandates have proven controversial across sports with the National Basketball League (NBA) among the competitions failing to agree to a mandate with players. 

In a statement in late August the WTA Tour revealed ‘nearly 50% of our players are vaccinated’. Last week world No 11 Petra Kvitova confirmed half of the women’s tour – which included herself – had been jabbed.

Stefanos Tsitsipas previously said he would only get vaccinated if it was made mandatory by the ATP Tour but he changed his tone last month when confirming he will take the vaccine

On the question of a potential mandate in tennis, Murray added: ‘I don’t really know how to answer that because I think it’s quite complex with how our sport works.

‘Over here in the different sports, I know there are different rules within the different states, but it’s all in one country, whereas with tennis, obviously it’s global, there’s different rules in different countries.

‘I think some of the players maybe would feel like if they’re not vaccinated and they’re going to a country where vaccination is not mandatory, that they shouldn’t be forced into it by the ATP or the WTA potentially.

‘But like I said, I support vaccination. I hope that more of the players get it done. I don’t want to come off the court having played a match and, again, be talking about something like that.’

He added: ‘Hopefully people gain more confidence in it over time, can see the benefits outweigh any of the potential risks or side effects that people are worried of.

‘I’m not saying that that never happens. I understand it is in rare cases, like people can get some side effects. For the most part the benefits way outweigh any of the risks. Hopefully more of the players can see that.’

Djokovic is yet to reveal his vaccination status but the Serbian has previously expressed concerns at the use of vaccines in medicine. 

Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Murray earlier this year at the US Open, said back in August he would only get vaccinated if it became mandatory.

He had angered his own government by publicly stating he ‘sees no reason for someone in my age group to be vaccinated’ – but he has since performed a U-turn. 

 Unvaccinated players could yet still feature but they will likely face far stricter rules, such as a non-negotiable 14-day quarantine upon arrival into Australia over Christmas

The Greek star has backtracked on those comments, saying in September he will take up the vaccine offer before the end of the year. 

‘I will get vaccinated this year,’ he told Antenna TV. ‘So I can go to restaurants and shops. I support all those who get vaccinated. I am not a doctor; I am a tennis player, so I may not have the most substantiated opinion when it comes to medical issues.’

Any exclusion from the Australian Open, which Djokovic has won nine times, would be huge news as he would be denied the chance to become the all-time leading Grand Slam record holder. He is currently tied on 20 with Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal.  

‘If I was an ATP or WTA player, I’d be getting vaccinated,’ Victoria sports minister Martin Pakula told local radio station SEN.

‘That will give them the best opportunity to play in the Australian Open with the more minimal restrictions that might be in place for those people.’