Andy Murray says some of the attitudes of fellow players has left him frustrated – particularly around the topic of coronavirus vaccinations.
Tennis has continued throughout the pandemic under strict restrictions with many players growing weary and exasperated with bubble life.
The merits or not of having the vaccine have also been up for debate – Novak Djokovic declining to say whether he had taken up the offer of being vaccinated at the Serbia Open last week.
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But for Murray, the situation is ‘a no-brainer’ if it means keeping people safe as well as playing.
“It isn’t much fun going and staying in the bubbles,” said Murray. “In Miami, for example, you look out of the window and the whole city’s completely open but the players are obviously in the bubble. I can appreciate from the players’ perspective that that can be frustrating.
“And, because it’s been going on for a while, it’s a bit tiring. And I know for some of the Aussie players, they’re looking at nine or 10 months away from home because if they go home they have to do two weeks in a hotel.
“So I appreciate all that, that it is difficult. But, at the same time, seeing 60,000 people died in Brazil last month because of coronavirus, if this is what we have to do to be able to continue to do our jobs and to give the tournaments some security (then so be it).
“If they opened up in Miami, it was spring break, I saw what was going on there in the city with tons of people coming in from around the country, partying and the city’s open, and then a bunch of the players start testing positive, that’s difficult for the tournament as well.
“It’s very uncertain times for them as well. Right now it’s the best way to keep the tournaments safe, and players and the members of staff safe as well.
“If you want to avoid having to be in a bubble for too long, you need to then support the vaccination, because you can’t just say, ‘No we want to just live normally and we don’t want any bubbles but we also don’t want to be vaccinated’. It’s a no-brainer to me.”
With Wimbledon set to begin on June 28, Murray is preparing to stay in a city centre hotel along with the rest of the players due to the strict competition rules – despite living only a short drive away.
On the situation, the 33-year-old said: “Obviously I would way rather not be staying in a hotel. It would be a shame but, if that’s what we’ve got to do to keep everyone safe, then that’s what we’ll do.”
Murray has always said that being able to stay at home with his family alleviates the pressures of the fortnight but he fears he may not be able to see them much at all during the grass-court season.
The Scot said: “If you look at what the schedule is, and you have to potentially go into a bubble at Queen’s. We’ve been told that the ticketing for Wimbledon is going to be vastly reduced for the players for family.
“It would be very odd playing at Wimbledon without, not just being able to see your family and stuff, but not having them there to support in the matches as well.
“That’s the times we’re living in. Hopefully, if we keep going with the vaccinations, there’ll be a possibility for potentially family members and friends that have been vaccinated to come in and get tickets and come to support. If not, that’s what it will have to be this year.”
Even if familiar faces are unable to be there, Murray is looking forward to playing in front of what he hopes will be a substantial British crowd.
Wimbledon will leave a final decision on crowd numbers as close to the tournament as possible, with tickets not due to be put on sale until June.
Murray said: “For me, it would make a huge difference. Hopefully we can get some good crowds in. We’ve heard 30 per cent, but I don’t know if that’s 30 per cent of their usual capacity but they’ll be allowed to have Centre Court and Court One full. So we’ll see.
“At the beginning I didn’t miss it (crowds) that much, I was just pumped to be competing again. But, as the weeks go on, that’s kind of what you play for, to play in front of big crowds and play in great atmospheres. It’s something that I’ve definitely missed.”
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