Tennis players express uncertainty, hesitance in getting COVID-19 vaccine shot

Aryna Sabalenka, Elina Svitolina, Andrey Rublev, Diego schwartzman expressed uncertainty about taking the COVID-19 vaccine shot.

Trainer assists Elina Svitolina (L) during a match at the Miami Open. AP

Players at the Miami Open expressed uncertainty and little love for the COVID-19 vaccine, stating they would want more information before getting a shot for themselves or family.

Seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka said she “doesn’t trust it” and explained it stems from the notion that not a lot of tests have been conducted to be clear on the possible side-effects.

“So far I don’t really trust it,” Sabalenka said after beating Marketa Vondrousova in fourth round 6-1, 6-2 at the Miami Open on Monday.

“It’s tough to say, but I don’t really want it yet and I don’t want my family take it. If I will have to do it, then of course I have to do it because our life is a travel life.”

The 22-year-old Belarusian expressed concern with how quickly the vaccines were produced, the number that are now available and which one might be best for her.

“I have to speak with my doctors and see which one is better for me,” said Sabalenka. “But for now, I don’t really trust it.

“They just make it, like really quick and there wasn’t enough time to test it and to see what can happen.

“So I think this is not enough time to make the good one.”

Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina said she was taking advice from friends and has decided to wait. She said getting the vaccine at the moment “makes no sense”.

“It will not really help you in many ways because you have to quarantine anyway because ATP and WTA, they oblige you to quarantine anyway, like 24 hours as soon as you get it,” she said having beaten Petra Kvitova 2-6, 7-5, 7-5 to move into the quarter-finals.

“Okay, you will reduce your symptoms if you get it, but still, there is a chance that you can get it.

“So for now it makes almost, like, no sense to do something that has been tested for such a short period of time. For me, I will probably wait for now,” she added.

Russia’s Andrey Rublev echoed Svitolina’s apprehension in it not helping their tennis life. “For the moment it doesn’t really give you any privilege. You still have to be in the bubble.”

“If you ask me if I can choose and I can have an option, I will not do it.”

He said he’s not needed any vaccine in the past and hasn’t had any health issues.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman said it isn’t a priority for him at the moment. But if the availability of vaccine improves his home country, he would help his family to get it in the future. At the same time, he said, he doesn’t “love the vaccine”.

“If I have a chance in the future, I think I’m going to help my family to get one, but I really don’t love the vaccine. Never have. It’s not a tradition in my family to get any vaccine,” he said after beating Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 6-1, 6-4.

When queried if the men’s tour, the ATP, have discussed vaccination with the players, Schwartzman said, “I read a lot of things about Tokyo (Olympics in) trying to get the vaccine for the athletes. If the athletes have the chance (to get vaccinated) before going (to) Tokyo, maybe I’ll do it.”

The Argentine later clarified that he would get the shot whenever his turn comes.

Not everyone at the Miami Open is adverse to getting vaccinate. World No 2 and Australian Open winner Naomi Osaka said she will get one whenever her turn comes. “I’m planning on getting one,” said Osaka. “For me, I feel like whenever I’m eligible, I guess.”

Last week, former World No 1 Simona Halep got the vaccination shot in Romania. She said, “I wanted to get vaccinated. I came with an open mind and I’m fine. I was vaccinated with Pfizer. I’m fine, I haven’t had any side effects now. It’s for everyone’s sake and that’s why I decided to get vaccinated.”

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