World number three Stefanos Tsitsipas has surprised the tennis world, stating earlier in the week he would only get the Covid-19 vaccine if it was made mandatory for all professional tennis players to do so.
While the ATP tour has encouraged players to get vaccinated, the Greek champion is clearly still reluctant to become inoculated.
Tsitsipas revealed he hasn’t even received his first dose of a vaccine yet and is waiting for it to be mandated for all players on tour.
“No one has told me anything. No one has made it a mandatory thing to be vaccinated,” he told reporters when asked if he would attempt to become vaccinated while competing in America ahead of the US Open.
Tsitsipas slammed for not getting the vaccine
“At some point I will have to, I’m pretty sure about it, but so far it hasn’t been mandatory to compete, so I haven’t done it, no.”
The 23-year-old’s hesitancy to receive the Covid-19 vaccine was slammed by many in Greece and the global tennis community.
Adonis Georgiadis, the Greek Minister for Development and Investment, said he has “saddened” by the announcement.
“Tsitsipas is a model athlete whose thoughts and behavior affects a lot of people,” Georgiadis noted.
Leading tennis coach Brad Gilbert labelled Tsitsipas’ stance on the vaccine “very selfish.”
strange why u would want to travel around the world 🌎 not having it, is very selfish https://t.co/xH8dc50abB
— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) August 17, 2021
The Covid-19 vaccine has been a controversial issue among top tennis players, notably Novak Djokovic.
In April, the world’s No. 1 player said he hoped the Covid-19 shot would not become mandatory for players to compete and he has also refused to answer questions about his own vaccination status.
However, fellow 20-time Grand Slam winners Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have expressed the importance of vaccination in the fight to get out of the pandemic.
“The only way out of this nightmare is vaccination. Our responsibility as human beings is to accept it,” Nadal said.
“I know there is a percentage of people who will suffer from side effects, but the effects of the virus are worse.”
Tsitsipas has had an inconsistent year at Grand Slam level — defeating Nadal at the French Open on his way to his maiden Grand Slam final, before suffering a shocking first-round loss at Wimbledon.
On Tuesday he hit back at critics of his stance on vaccination by posting on Instagram: “By looking out for yourself, you also look out for those who stand with you.”
Over 5.1 million have completed Covid-19 vaccination in Greece
Greece has completed 11 million vaccinations as of Monday, Secretary General for Primary Health Marios Themistocleous said at the weekly live briefing on Monday.
That total number refers to both those who have completed their vaccination series against Covid-19 or have had the first dose of vaccine only.
He said that over 5.85 million citizens have been vaccinated with at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, corresponding to 55.6% of the general population, or 65% of the adult population.
Over 5.15 million have completed their vaccination series, or 52.5% of the general population and 61.6% of the adult cohort.