Tokyo 2020: Djokovic says 'history on the line' in Golden Slam bid
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Former US Open champion Dominic Thiem has been urged by one of the leading politicians of his home nation Austria to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.
Thiem has made his vaccine stance clear that he is only open to receiving the Novavax jab, however Austrian minister for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection Wolfgang Mückstein has pleaded with him to take an alternative option.
As a result, the minister confirmed to the tennis star that the Novavax he is waiting on is likely to not be available until 2022 at the earliest, and has therefore insisted he takes a different jab to avoid the delay.
Mückstein said: “The inactivated vaccine will not be available until 2022 at the earliest, and there is no indication that it has any advantages over the current vaccines.
“All the current vaccines available are safe and have been used a billion times.”
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He then went on to add that despite the 30-year-old being a fit and healthy athlete, he is still prone to suffering from the virus without a vaccine.
He added: “I can only urge Dominic Thiem to get vaccinated. There is long-Covid among younger people and athletes too, and we have 30-year-olds in the intensive care unit.”
A number of tennis stars have been left holding their breath in regard to competing in this year’s Australian Open in Melbourne, after the nation’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke declared all those wishing to come into Australia must be vaccinated.
As well as Thiem this has also been a major worry for world No 1, and defending champion, Novak Djokovic who has refused to disclose his vaccine status.
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Djokovic recently discussed the chance of potentially not defending his title in Melbourne this winter, commenting: “Things being as they are, I still don’t know if I will go to Melbourne,
“I will not reveal my status whether I have been vaccinated or not, it is a private matter and an inappropriate inquiry.
“Of course I want to go, Australia is my most successful grand slam tournament. I want to compete, I love this sport and I am still motivated.”
The difference with Thiem however is the Austrian has admitted that he will take a vaccine that is not Novavax, if it means competing at this winter’s Grand Slam.
Thiem said: “I actually wanted to get vaccinated with the inactivated Novavax vaccine. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just take another vaccine.”
However there has been recent good news for players yet to take the jab, as a leaked email from the WTA revealed that unvaccinated competitors will be able to travel to Australia, but will be required to take part in a two-week quarantine.
The email read: “Tennis Australia has asked us to wait a few days before speaking about it as they were still working with the government on the details.
“Because Victoria’s vaccination rate will hit 80 per cent at the end of the week and 90 per cent next month, it has been confirmed that conditions for players at the Australian Open will improve significantly.”
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