Andy Murray claimed Novak Djokovic had to accept the “consequences” of refusing to get vaccinated after the world No.1’s Australian visa was cancelled for a second time today. The Scot said there were no winners with the nine-time champion set to be banned from defending his title unless he succeeds with a second court action.
Djokovic has spoken of his scepticism about vaccine – and court papers confirmed last week that he was not vaccinated against Covid and had been initially granted an exemption because he tested positive last month.
But Murray, who proudly announced on social media he had received his booster jab before flying Down Under, said: “My feeling is that I would encourage people to get vaccinated, but yeah, I do feel like people should be able to make their own decision. But then, in a country like Australia, you know, you need to be vaccinated to come in, need to be vaccinated to compete here, and yeah, and obviously most of the players have chosen to do that.
“Pretty much all of the top 100 tennis players — I don’t know what it is on the women’s side, but I think they’ve got like 98% or something of the top 100 mens players have been vaccinated, which is positive.
“Ultimately people have to make their own choices. But there are also consequences sometimes for those decisions, as well.
“My belief and what I have seen and read and looked at the data and everything, especially recently, in the UK anyway, is that the lady who gave me my third jab, she works in the hospital in Central London, and she told me that every single person that is in ICU and on ventilators are all people that are unvaccinated.
“So to me, it makes sense, you know, for people to go ahead and have it done. Yes, most young, sort of healthy athletes are probably going to be okay, but yeah, we’ve all got to play our part in this one, I think.”
Murray, who lost four times to Djokovic in the Australian Open final, added: “I’m not going to sit here and start kicking Novak whilst he’s down. I mean, I said it the other day, it’s not a good situation for anyone.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s ended up in this sort of situation, and who knows? I don’t know what the process is from now. I don’t know what route he goes down, if he can appeal that and, you know, how long that takes, and can he still be out practicing whilst that process is going on or still competing in the tournament? I have no idea what the situation is with that.
“Yeah, I just want it obviously to get resolved. I think it would be good for everyone if that was the case. It just seems like it’s dragged on for quite a long time now, and yeah, not great for the tennis, not great for the Australian Open, not great for Novak.
“Obviously a lot of people have criticised the government here, as well. It’s not been good.”
Murray, 34, reached his first ATP Tour final for more than two years with a three-set win over giant American Reilly Opelka at the Sydney Tennis Classic today.
And he expressed his frustration that he was again discussing Djokovic.
“This is the second or third time this week I have been in here and I’m talking about stuff that’s going on with another player off the court,” said the former world No.1.
“Hence why I say it’s not great for tennis, because we are talking about other stuff and politics and all of those things. Yeah, I would rather be talking about how delighted and happy I am that I’m back in the final of a tournament again.”